$200 drug discount cards proposed by Trump won’t happen, officials say

The White House won't be able to fulfill President Donald Trump's promise to distribute $200 discount cards to Medicare beneficiaries to buy prescription drugs, Politico reported Jan. 14. 

Four officials told Politico that the White House ran out of time to complete the plan before Inauguration Day Jan. 20, when President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in. 

"It would take days to get all the signoffs we still need, plus the time to print the letters and make the cards," one anonymous official involved in the process, told Politico. "We ran out of time."

CMS Administrator Seema Verma told Business Insider Jan. 13 that she didn't expect the cards to be sent out. 

The plan, announced in September during a campaign speech, would have cost $7.9 billion, but it ran into several legal and logistical hurdles. Officials originally wanted to get the cards out before Election Day, but by mid-October officials said the plan was moving slower than expected. In late October, HHS General Counsel Robert Charrow sent an internal memo warning the plan may violate election law because of how close to the election it was announced. 

Bloomberg reported last month that the cards were expected to be mailed by Jan. 1, but the Treasury Department was also responsible for sending out stimulus checks as part of Congress' year-end relief package, which delayed progress on the Medicare cards, Politico reported. Several appointees involved in the project also left the administration, which slowed the effort. 

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