The Health and Human Services Department's top lawyer has described concerns that the Trump administration's plan to send prescription-drug coupons to seniors could violate election laws, Politico reported.
Though many would receive the coupons after the November 3 presidential election, the Trump administration reportedly wanted to send letters describing the effort to 39 million seniors this week.
Trump-administration officials had previously said the plan may violate rules on federal spending and Medicare-related tests, Politico reported.
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.
An HHS representative declined to comment on Politico's report, but said HHS secretary Alex Azar "has always been supportive of ideas to lower American seniors' out of pocket drug costs — including the president's copay card proposal and the plan to deliver discounts directly to seniors at the pharmacy counter."
The White House 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.
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