As if Congress didn't have enough deadlines to beat by the end of the year, forestalling a dramatic rise in Medicare costs has suddenly been added to Capitol Hill's "to-do" list.

House and Senate lawmakers returned from recess last week to face critical unfinished business, including a vote to raise the nation's $18.1 trillion borrowing limit before the Treasury runs out of money on Nov. 3.

Lawmakers must also act on a measure to reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund that keeps surface transportation projects humming. A Dec. 11 deadline on the budget is also nearing. It will require House and Senate lawmakers to strike a deal with President Obama on the fiscal 2016 funding bill that is required to keep the government operating.

Now add Medicare to the list.

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