House shoots down Medicare trigger

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The U.S. House of Representatives this week passed a rules package that includes a provision to eliminate the Medicare trigger for at least two years.

The Medicare trigger requires the president to submit to Congress a plan to curtail Medicare costs when they reach a certain level. It goes into effect when 45% or more of the program's funding comes from general tax revenues for two consecutive years. Since its inception as part of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, the trigger's threshold has only been reached once—in early 2008.

Upon passing the rules package, Democrats on the Hill called the now defunct trigger provision potentially cumbersome and disruptive, an "ideologically driven target based on a misleading measure of Medicare's financial health."