"A shameless stunt": Inside Trump's push to use government funds to save his campaign
President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport September 3, 2020 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Trump won Pennsylvania by a narrow margin in the 2016 election. Jeff Swensen / Getty Images
If President Donald Trump loses to former Vice President Joe Biden in this year's presidential election, two of the main reasons are likely his response to his COVID-19 pandemic and health policies - specifically Trump's drive to get rid of the Affordable Care Act and protect people with pre-existing conditions. One desperate move Trump is taking in hopes to save his campaign is the promise of drug discount cards for seniors, and Politico's Dan Diamond reports that Trump wants them to be available before November 3rd.
Given President Donald Trump's promise to deliver drug discount cards to seniors, health officials are struggling to implement the nearly $ 8 billion plan by Election Day, according to five officials and draft documents received from Politico. The taxpayer-funded plan, announced just two weeks ago and justified in the White House and Health Department as a test of the Medicare program, is being promoted by Seema Verma, the Centers' Administrator for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the White House chief pushed by Mark Meadow's staff, officials said.
The $ 200 cards, Diamond Notes said, "would look like credit cards" and "would have to be used in pharmacies" - and they would be "paid for by using the Medicare trust fund."
Politico has received a copy of a draft proposal for the plan that was distributed in the White House and, according to the proposal, "The goal is to start the test with the distribution of cards from October 2020."
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Trump's idea of senior drug discount cards comes at a time when many polls show his support for falling seniors. And Democrat Frank Pallone, chairman of the House's Energy and Trade Committee, is not the least bit impressed with the proposal. Pallone told Politico: "It is a shameless stunt stealing Medicare billions to fund a legally dubious program that is clearly intended to benefit President Trump's campaign just before election day."
An anonymously quoted official from the Ministry of Health and Human Services told Politico, "It's going to be this last-minute thing." Another HHS official interviewed by Politico said: "This is a solution to a problem and a barren game of votes in the form of pocket money."
Stacie Dusetzina, a professor at Vanderbilt University who studied Medicare's drug program, went through the draft proposal - and Dusetzina told Politico, "There are many things that seem problematic. It is an incredible amount of money to spend (and) it does not solve a systemic problem. "
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Twitter has received a lot of responses to Diamond's article and Trump's drug card proposal. Juliette Cubanski, associate director of the Medicare Policy Program, tweeted, "Many people with Medicare may appreciate getting a $ 200 rebate card, but it doesn't help address the ongoing problem of rising drug prices. And for those ifs if you take expensive drugs that are struggling to pay their monthly bills, $ 200 won't go very far. "
Twitter user @ColorFiend wrote: "Trump is bribing seniors to vote for him, while Therese Walsh (editor-in-chief of Writer Unboxed) wrote:" It's a shame he knelt our US knees, right? "- An indication of problems in the United States Postal Service This happened under Trump's Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. And another Twitter user, Gordon G. Forbes, wrote," Any voter that can be bought for $ 200 is a cheap date or time a simple brand. But Trump knows his base. "
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