A top Trump administration lawyer reportedly said a plan to send $200 prescription-drug coupons to seniors may be illegal

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Robert Charrow, general counsel for the Department of Health and Human Services, said in an internal memo that President Donald Trump’s plan to send senior citizens coupons for prescription drugs may run afoul of election laws, Politico reported, citing three people with knowledge of the matter.

Trump announced the initiative in September, and his administration reportedly wanted to send letters describing the effort to millions of 39 million seniors this week. Many of those eligible for the $200 coupons would receive them after the November 3 presidential election, Politico reported.

Charrow reportedly described concerns with the initiative’s proximity to the election and told members of the Trump administration to consult the Department of Justice’s public integrity section about the plan. Even before Charrow’s memo, officials had said the plan may violate rules on federal spending and Medicare-related tests, Politico reported.

The White House and HHS did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Many health officials in the Trump administration were reportedly surprised when Trump announced the plan, which Politico said has lost momentum over the past two weeks. Administration members have become hesitant to appear closely involved with the initiative, Politico reported, with one telling the website the plan “is quickly becoming radioactive.”

Senior Trump-administration officials had said the coupons could provide insight into whether giving Medicare recipients discounts on prescription drugs would lead them to more often take the drugs, Politico reported. Charrow has reportedly suggested sending the coupons to a randomized group of seniors to make the initiative a more valid test, but Trump reportedly wants to send them to more than half of Medicare recipients.

Seniors have favored Trump’s Democratic challenger for the presidency, Joe Biden, in opinion polls, a preference reflected across many other surveys.

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Source:: Business Insider


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