While the government shutdown has had little, if any, immediate effect on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — public health care exchanges opened as scheduled on Tuesday — the next looming crisis is the federal debt ceiling, which must be raised by Oct. 17 if the country is to continue meeting its financial obligations.

Speaking during a panel discussion at last week’s Benefits Forum & Expo, Gretchen Young, senior vice president of health policy with the ERISA Industry Committee, addressed Republicans’ attempts to delay the individual mandate as a way to get the debt ceiling raised.

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