After reading a lot of ignorance in the media and on Facebook, I wanted to clearly try to sum up what's going on with the government shutdown. If I'm mistaken on any of this, please let me know (with a reference) in the comments section and I'll edit this post.
The Affordable Care Act was made law in 2012. It went through all 3 branches of the US government in becoming so. Under this law, US citizens have the right to insurance and are obligated to purchase it or pay a tax penalty (just like you're required to carry car insurance). For most of us who are already insured, very little (if anything) changes. It actually was a republican idea (created by Mitt Romney), but some (not all) republicans, including John Boehner (R.) really don't like it. The ACA went into effect Oct 1. If you're currently uninsured, you can go to healthcare.gov to shop for insurance from private insurance companies: they can't deny you based on pre-existing conditions.
As a last ditch effort to keep the ACA from getting funded, House Speaker John Boehner didn't even put the House approved budget up for a vote until funding for the ACA was removed from the budget. Democrats (and some republicans) want to keep the law funded, and so the budget wasn't changed, and was never voted on.
The fact is, the majority of the House supports the Senate approved budget, and if it went to a vote, the government shutdown would be over and we could move on. Once this happens, the democrats have agreed to discuss the ACA with Tea Party Republicans. But the small minority of extreme republicans (lead by John Boehner) is afraid without holding the government and economy hostage, they won't have enough bargaining power. Democrats are not negotiating while the government is shut down, to show that this dangerous and unprecedented tactic of holding the government hostage is not ok (i.e., "we don't negotiate with bullies").
But the fact is our government is not quite as divided as the current situation might lead you to believe. A small group of extreme republicans has halted our government, and put our economy in danger in dispute of a law that has already been passed, they just don't like it. So instead of calling a vote and ending the shutdown, they are just waiting. And we're the ones hurting.