Trump Vows to Send $200 Drug Discount Cards to America's Seniors

Trump Vows to Send $200 Drug Discount Cards to America's Seniors
President Donald Trump delivers remarks on his healthcare policies in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Tom Ozimek

President Donald Trump has promised to send $200 drug discount cards to 33 million seniors enrolled in Medicare, as part of his administration's effort to address high prescription drug costs.

“Nobody’s seen this before, these cards are incredible,” Trump said at a speech on health care in North Carolina on Sept. 24. “The cards will be mailed out in coming weeks, I will always take care of our wonderful senior citizens."
Trump said some of the money to pay for the cards would come from savings generated by a "most-favored-nation" clause that's part of a Sept. 13 executive order the president signed that seeks to lower drug prices. The "most-favored-nation price" is the lowest price—adjusted for volume and gross domestic product—for a pharmaceutical product that a drug manufacturer sells in a member country of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), of which the United States is also a member.

"It is unacceptable that Americans pay more for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same places. Other countries’ governments regulate drug prices by negotiating with drug manufacturers to secure bargain prices, leaving Americans to make up the difference—effectively subsidizing innovation and lower-cost drugs for the rest of the world," Trump wrote in the order, adding, "Americans should not bear extra burdens to compensate for the shortfalls that result from the nationalized public healthcare systems of wealthy countries abroad."

Trump's announcement that he is moving forward with his discount card plan as a way to reduce drug costs comes after talks between the White House and the pharmaceutical industry's major lobby broke down. The president told reporters on Sept. 1 that he expected talks with representatives of big pharma would continue.

"We’re working with the drug companies on substantially lowering drug prices. I’ve put out a favored nations clause; I’ve signed it. That means we get the lowest prices anywhere in the world. We match whoever gets the lowest. And the drug companies are having a real problem with that. So they’re coming in to see me, and we expect to get a very substantial price reduction in prescription drugs, which has never been done before,” Trump said.

A spokeswoman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a pharmaceutical industry trade group that has worked closely with the Trump administration on drug pricing issues, later told Reuters that no meeting had been scheduled.

A White House official cited by The Wall Street Journal said the cards would be sent out in coming weeks and they can be used to cover the cost of prescription-drug copays.

Trump, in the Sept. 24 speech, laid out his vision for health care—dubbed the "America First Healthcare Plan"—which focuses on providing “better care, more choice, and lower costs.”

“My plan expands affordable insurance options, reduces the cost of prescription drugs, will end surprise medical billing, increases fairness through price transparency, streamlines bureaucracy, accelerates innovation, strongly protects Medicare, and always protect patients with preexisting conditions,” Trump said.

Rival Joe Biden’s health care proposal includes expanding on the Affordable Care Act, the signature legislation of President Barack Obama, and instituting a public option that would offer government-run health programs similar to Medicare.

Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.