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House Eliminates Medicare Trigger In Rules Package

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The House on Tuesday voted 242-181 to approve an operating rules package (H Res 5) that eliminates the Medicare trigger, which requires the president to submit a plan to contain Medicare costs if they reach a certain level, CQ Today reports. The trigger was approved as part of the 2003 Medicare law.

Under the law, if 45% or more of the program's funding comes from general tax revenues for two consecutive years, the president must submit to Congress legislation that would slow spending over a seven-year period and make the program financially stable. The trigger went into effect for the first time last year.

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A one-line item included in the rules package states that the Medicare trigger "shall not apply."

In a release accompanying the package, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the trigger is "an ideologically driven target based on a misleading measure of Medicare's financial health." Hoyer's office said that eliminating the trigger "will allow Congress to consider all options for improving Medicare financing to provide a balanced and equitable solution" (Armstrong, CQ Today, 1/6).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.