Trump's $200 Medicare drug card plan may violate election law, HHS lawyer says

Democratic lawmakers are urging HHS to release internal documents related to President Donald Trump's plan to give seniors $200 Medicare discount drug cards after an HHS official said the plan may be illegal, Politico reported. 

HHS General Counsel Robert Charrow sent an internal memo warning that the plan may violate election law because of how close to the election it was announced. The Trump administration said it's legally permissible to use its Medicare powers to "test" new ways of funding. 

Reps. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Richard Neal, D-.Mass., and Sen. Ron Wyden D-Ore., wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, saying media reports "appear to confirm our concerns that the Trump administration is relying on dubious legal authority to justify a blatant political gambit by the president that would be paid for using taxpayer dollars," Politico reported. 

They are requesting an unredacted copy of Mr. Charrow's internal memo as well as details of his instruction to HHS to seek guidance from the Justice Department before moving forward with the plan. They're also requesting a copy of the draft letter officials plan to send to the 39 Medicare beneficiaries who would receive the $200 cards. The lawmakers have asked for the documents by Oct. 26. 

They also requested the Trump administration brief congressional staff on the plan by next week. 

Democratic lawmakers have separately asked the Government Accountability Office to review the drug card plan. 

An HHS spokesperson told Politico that the department would respond to their requests but did not say whether the requested documents would be given. 

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