Washington, DC — Yesterday, President Trump claimed he would send seniors $200 drug coupons to help cover the cost of their prescription drugs. This is just another “political ploy” from a president who is trying to obscure his catastrophic health care record for seniors. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“Seniors pay far too much for prescription drugs, and the last thing they need is another false promise from President Trump who has overseen four years of drug price increases and who refuses to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prices — the one proven tool to make needed prescription drugs more affordable. Far from fighting the drug companies, President Trump has given them billions in tax breaks, and he doesn’t even have a plan for how to pay for and implement this latest ploy. Every independent expert says this latest promise is a sham, and nothing more than an election year stunt from a president who threatens the lives of seniors every day by his disastrous mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic and his relentless efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act.”

COVERAGE:

New York Times: Trump’s Discount Cards A “$6.6 Billion Election-Eve Promise With Dubious Legal Authority.” “President Trump vowed on Thursday to send $200 discount cards for prescription drugs to 33 million older Americans, a $6.6 billion election-eve promise with dubious legal authority that he announced as part of a speech billed as presenting a long-awaited health care plan.” [New York Times, 9/24/20

  • New York Times: “It Was Not Clear Where the Money for the Cards Would Come From or Whether the White House Could Legally Issue Them.” “That left the drug discount cards as the major advance in Mr. Trump’s speech. It was not clear where the money for the cards would come from or whether the White House could legally issue them. But they amounted to a gift to a key constituency, offered weeks before Election Day.” [New York Times, 9/24/20

Stat: Trump’s Promise to Distribute Cash Cards to Medicare Beneficiaries “A Political Ploy to Curry Favor With Seniors.” “President Trump on Thursday pledged to send $200 prescription drug coupons to 33 million Medicare beneficiaries ‘in the coming weeks,’ a political ploy to curry favor with seniors who view drug prices as a priority. Trump’s promise comes less than six weeks before Election Day, and represents the latest step in his administration’s (and his campaign’s) efforts to amass health care talking points, even if their actions do little to save Americans money… It is unclear whether Trump’s promises on $200 credits for prescription drug coupons will come to fruition. Under the Constitution, it is Congress, not the White House, that is empowered to spend taxpayer money, and it is unclear where the roughly $6.6 billion for the program would come from.” [Stat, 9/24/20

Bloomberg: “Trump Didn’t Explain In His Speech What Program or Authority Would Allow the Government to Provide the Cards.” “Trump didn’t explain in his speech what program or authority would allow the government to provide the cards. Assuming they are sent to 33 million Medicare beneficiaries, the figure Trump used, the cards would cost about $6.6 billion…Trump is struggling to secure the votes of older Americans with less than six weeks before the election. Several recent polls indicate his re-election opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, is tied or leading Trump among people 65 and older, a turnabout from 2016 when the president won the senior vote by a comfortable margin.” [Bloomberg, 9/24/20]

Washington Post: “The White House Has Released No Details of How the $200 Program Would Work, How It Would Be Funded and Whether This Was A Long-Term Plan or One-Time Payment to Seniors Ahead of the Election.” “In addition to the executive action on preexisting conditions, Trump also promised millions of older Americans would receive $200 toward the cost of prescription drugs and signed executive orders he said would somehow prevent unexpected medical bills and protect insurance coverage for preexisting medical problems. The White House released no details of how the $200 program would work, how it would be funded and whether this was a long-term plan or one-time payment to seniors ahead of the election.” [Washington Post, 9/24/20

Politico: “The Trump Administration Has Pledged Repeatedly to Lower Drug Costs, Yet Drug Makers Have Raised the Price of Hundreds Of Medicines Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic.” “Sending coupons to that many Medicare beneficiaries would cost at least $6.6 billion. Two senior White House staff said the money can be used as part of a Medicare program, called the 402 demonstration, that tests innovations that could save money or improve the quality of care in Medicare. The Trump administration has pledged repeatedly to lower drug costs, yet drug makers have raised the price of hundreds of medicines amid the coronavirus pandemic.” [Politico, 9/24/20