Government Shutdown: What is it and Why Does it Matter?


It’s October second, which means the government is in its new fiscal year and has a new budget…or rather it should have a new budget. A deal could not be made between the Senate and the House, and because there’s no new budget, a government shutdown is in effect.

One of the major reasons the shutdown occurred is because of the Affordable Care Act…more commonly known as ObamaCare.WIU Political Science Department Chair Keith Boeckelman said the health plan isn’t the only reason the shutdown occurred, but it is on of the major reasons.

“The opponents of ObamaCare, particularly Republicans,” said Boeckelman, “said, if President Obama does not agree to repeal it, then they would not pass a budget.”

The situation is that Republicans have the majority vote in the House and Democrats have it in the Senate. ObamaCare is the bargaining chip the House used in order to have leverage. Because neither the Senate nor the House gave in, we are now in the first government shutdown in almost two decades

With all the fuss about ObamaCare, what does it actually do? Some Western Illinois University students tried to answer that very question.

“I have no idea what Obama Care is…not a Clue,” said Zachary Hunter. 

“I have a small understanding of it,” said Jared Harper, “but not too well. I mean I had some of a class on it in health but we didn’t go that deep into it.”

“The Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare is basically legislated health insurance,” said Sara Le’Jeune. It says everyone has to have certain health insurance regulations.”

Dr. Boeckelman said there are some pros of Obamacare. Things like providing universal healthcare to a large amount of people and allowing students to be on their parent’s health insurance plan until age 26. However, he says there’s some cons as well, such as the cost. He said we spend nearly $7,000 dollars a year per person on healthcare in the U.S, but the next country that has the lowest spending rate spends about $4,500.

The last government shutdown in 1995 and ’96 lasted almost a month. Should this shutdown last too long, the country faces a potential loss in billions of dollars. 

For detailed information about the shutdown, click here.

Government Shutdown

U.S. Capitol