President Trump pledged to give Medicare beneficiaries hundreds of dollars to put toward the cost of prescription drugs as he laid out his health care plan in a speech on Thursday.
“Under my plan, 33 million Medicare beneficiaries will soon receive a card in the mail containing $200 that they can use to help pay for prescription drugs,” Trump said during a speech in North Carolina.
Trump said the cards will be mailed out in the coming weeks and indicated the money is available because of savings that will be reaped from other policies in his broader plan.
Medicare covers individuals aged 65 and over and younger people with disabilities.
It has recently been reported that Medicare beneficiaries may not be able to receive a potential coronavirus vaccine cost-free if it is approved for emergency use. The program does not cover drugs approved via emergency authorizations.
The White House is said to be looking at ways to ensure coverage for a vaccine, which is intended to be free for all Americans.
Among the provisions in Trump’s “America First Health Care plan” are measures to lower costs for seniors – including ending surprise medical billing – negotiating prices on the international stage, and allowing states to legally import drugs from Canada at a presumably lower price. The latter measure, Trump said, goes into effect on Thursday when the president planned to sign an executive order to kick-off some of his health care initiatives.
In March, at the start of the domestic coronavirus outbreak, Senate Democrats proposed giving $200 to Social Security beneficiaries each month to weather the financial effects of the pandemic. The measure was not included in relief legislation.