$200 Medicare drug cards won’t arrive before Election Day

The government’s plan to send $200 drug savings cards to millions of Medicare beneficiaries won’t be completed until after Election Day, a person familiar with the plan told The Wall Street Journal.  

Health officials previously said they were working quickly to get the cards to all Medicare patients by Election Day. But the majority of cards won’t be sent until after the election on Nov. 3, and the cards will mostly likely only go to low-income beneficiaries who don’t get financial assistance for medications rather than everyone covered under Medicare Part D, the Journal reported. 

CMS is spending about $20 million to print and send Medicare beneficiaries letters informing them that they’ll be getting the cards. The total cost of the plan is about $8 billion. 

The plan has been sent to the Office of Management and Budget, but it’s unclear if or when the office will approve the program, according to the Journal. CMS said it can’t say when  the cards will go out since the proposal is still with the Office of Management and Budget. 

High-ranking Democrats have called for an independent watchdog to expedite a review of the plan, saying they don’t believe the Trump administration has the legal authority to enact it, The Hill reported. The Democrats have said they’re concerned the plan is an attempt to influence the election. 

The president didn’t provide specifics about how the program would be funded or explain the legal authority that allows the government to send out the cards.

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