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More than half of the Department of Health and Human Services 80,000+ employees could be furloughed

Expert in disaster preparedness says "It doesn't make any sense" to risk the health of citizens

CNN —  

A government shutdown could potentially hurt the health of more than the government workers who will be plagued with the uncertainty and stress of not knowing when they’ll get back to work and collect a paycheck. The shutdown could impact you, too.

The government plays an outsized role in protecting our public health. A little more than half of the employees at the Department of Health and Human Services – 41,203 out of 82,148 – would be furloughed, according to the department’s 2017 contingency plan. That means entire projects will stop and whole safety programs could go on hiatus.

If the shutdown happens, workers considered “nonessential” stop working until Congress can agree on a federal budget bill. At its peak of the 2013 government shutdown, about 850,000 employees were furloughed per day, according to the Office of Management and Budget.