President Trump promised to send 33 million drug discount cards to Medicare beneficiaries that could be used to pay for $200 in prescription drug costs. Experts are now saying that the mass number of senior discount cards will not be completed until after the election, if at all. Some believe it might simply be a ploy to gain the senior vote. Here is what we know.
Discount card distribution plan and price
As of now, the cards are expected to be mailed in phases, with some likely going out later in October but most not until after the presidential election, (November 3), according to the Wall Street Journal. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is spending an estimated $20 million for administrative costs to print and send letters to Medicare beneficiaries informing them that they will be getting cards.
Plans for the overall drug-discount program have been sent to the Office for Management and Budget (OMB). It is unclear if or when the office will approve the program, which could cost $8 billion. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees Medicare designed for people 65 and older, is unable to say exactly when the cards will go out because the proposal is still at OMB. Also, beneficiaries will have two years to use discount cards.
Low-income beneficiaries who don’t already get financial assistance for medications would likely get the cards, according to the person familiar with the planning, rather than everyone in Medicare Part D.
Trump surprised his own health-administration leaders on September 24 when he announced the plan to mail out prescription drug cards.
Fun Fact: The idea for the discount cards was actually proposed by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Trump needs the senior vote
The promise of the discount cards was announced relatively close to the time of voting for the 2020 Presidential election. With little detail provided, Trump merely promised Medicare beneficiaries, voters over 65, a perk to vote for him. This age group has been noted to be crucial to the president’s reelection bid, as was similar in the 2016 Presidential election.
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