Health department’s legal concerns about the drug-card plan for seniors could delay plans to promote it beyond Election Day
The health department’s top lawyer is warning in an internal memo that President Donald Trump’s plan to give seniors $200 discount cards to buy prescription drugs could violate election law, according to three officials with knowledge of those legal concerns.
The lawyer’s objection, coupled with his advice to seek approval from the Department of Justice, is a significant blow to Trump’s hope to promote the hastily devised plan before Election Day.
Robert Charrow, a political appointee who serves as the Health and Human Services department’s general counsel, warned in the memo that the plan’s timing and design could invite legal challenges, those officials said. For instance, Charrow cautioned health officials that moving forward with the proposed $7.9 billion plan — which would be paid for by dipping into one of Medicare’s trust funds, and which senior Trump appointees had hoped to tout in letters sent to millions of seniors this week — would spark concerns about inappropriately using federal funds so close to the election.
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