White House insistence on $100 ‘Trump Cards’ being sent to seniors killed prescription drug deal: NYT
President Donald Trump (Photo: Screen capture)

White House efforts to help Donald Trump politically before the 2020 presidential election prevented America's seniors from receiving $150 billion in prescription drug price relief.

"After months of heated accusations and painstaking negotiations, the White House and the pharmaceutical industry neared agreement late last month on a plan to make good on President Trump’s longstanding promise to lower drug prices. The drug companies would spend $150 billion to address out-of-pocket consumer costs and would even pick up the bulk of the co-payments that older Americans shoulder in Medicare’s prescription drug program," The New York Times reported Saturday.

"Then the agreement collapsed. The breaking point, according to four people familiar with the discussions: Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, insisted the drug makers pay for $100 cash cards that would be mailed to seniors before November — 'Trump Cards,' some in the industry called them," the newspaper reported. "Some of the drugmakers bridled at being party to what they feared would be seen as an 11th-hour political boost for Mr. Trump, the people familiar with the matter said."

Priscilla VanderVeer, the vice-president of public affairs at PhRMA, cited the election timing as a reason the deal collapsed.

“We could not agree to the administration’s plan to issue one-time savings cards right before a presidential election,” VanderVeer said. “One-time savings cards will neither provide lasting help, nor advance the fundamental reforms necessary to help seniors better afford their medicines.”