WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement in response to President Trump announcing his plan to mail older Americans a one-time $200 discount card for prescription drugs, draining the Medicare Trust Fund and skirting his responsibility to solve the real crisis over drug prices:
“Donald Trump has once again chosen the empty, symbolic, sweeping gesture to pretend he is solving a problem that he is actually making worse. Trump promised four years ago to lower drug prices and stand up for older people, but he failed to do so. Congressional Democrats passed legislation, but Trump has refused to negotiate with them. Now, he’s proposing a one-time prescription drug discount card for older Americans that is funded by defunding Medicare. That’s not lowering drug prices. And it’s not holding Big Pharma accountable. But the proof is in the actions behind the stunts: Donald Trump has given trillions in tax cuts to the rich that directly benefit pharmaceutical companies. He’s looking out for them, not older people.
“The reality: We need to be negotiating to reduce drug prices. But raiding the Medicare and Social Security trusts for a shallow coupon gimmick sends a message that defunding our social safety net for a one-time savings ploy is OK. Americans know better.”