SCOOP: Trump's promise to send people $200 drug discount cards isn't happening, Medicare chief says
- President Donald Trump promised in September that millions of people aged 65 and above would get government-funded gift cards to help them pay for prescription drugs.
- "I don't anticipate at this time that there'll be going out," Medicare chief Seema Verma told Insider in an exclusive interview.
- Trump's time in office is coming to an end in a week, meaning the idea may never see the daylight unless Joe Biden picks it up.
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The $200 prescription drug gift certificates that President Donald Trump promised ahead of the November election won't be going out, according to his outgoing Medicare chief.
The discount cards were supposed to get mailed out close to the November election to 33 million people on Medicare to help them pay for prescription drugs they buy at the pharmacy. Medicare covers seniors as well as others who qualify because of a disability.
"At this time they haven't gone out," Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Administrator Seema Verma told Insider in an exclusive interview on Wednesday, just one week before Trump is set to leave office. "I don't anticipate at this time that there'll be going out."
Trump first announced the cards were coming during a speech in September while campaigning in Charlotte, North Carolina, but the idea quickly drew criticism because Congress hadn't allocated funds to pay for the program.
Some estimates said the plan would cost $8 billion, and federal health officials were vague about how the government would pay for them. In one call with reporters, officials said the money would come from savings for another drug pricing program the Trump administration hadn't created yet.
Democrats in Congress criticized the plan as illegal and said Trump was trying to use it to sway votes in his favor.
The White House and the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees CMS, did not immediately respond to an email from Insider to confirm whether the cards were officially off the table.
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