Trump Talks Medicare/Rx Drug Prices at Ft. Myers Rally
President Donald Trump’s campaign swing through Florida Friday included an invitation-only event in Downtown Fort Myers to highlight his administration's efforts to protect seniors.
President Trump spoke before a crowd of about 400 people at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center and Amphitheater. During his address, Trump claimed without evidence that “the left” has a plan to delay a vaccine for COVID-19 and to prolong the pandemic. Without laying out any specific policy proposals, Trump spoke of protecting Medicare and Social Security for seniors.
“As long as I’m president no one will lay a hand on your Medicare or your Social Security,” said Trump.
“As a candidate I made a sacred promise that I’d strengthen protect and defend your Medicare benefits and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I’ve done that, right?”
Earlier this year, the Trump administration’s budget proposal included cutting about half a trillion dollars in Medicare, cutting about a trillion in spending for Medicaid and about $292 billion in welfare reform.
Trump also touted his efforts to reduce prescription drug prices and lower insurance premiums, which have been major talking points this campaign season for his second-term agenda.
He’s also against maintaining the Affordable Care Act, but so far has not laid out any detailed alternative.
Trump highlighted his announcement from late September concerning a plan to help Medicare beneficiaries pay prescription drug costs.
“I also announced than more than 35 million Medicare beneficiaries will soon receive a card in the mail with $200 that you can use to help pay for prescription drugs,” said Trump.
The president says the cards will be in the mail in a matter of weeks, but it remains unclear how his administration could accomplish this.
High profile attendees at the event included U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson, Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello and Gov. Ron DeSantis, who Trump praised for Florida’s a prescription drug importation program to import less expensive medications from Canada.
“I’ve allowed Ron DeSantis now to go to Canada and buy your prescription drugs. Now, why and I doing that? Because before all of the favored nations and everything kick in, which ultimately, I think that’s what you’re going to be using more than anything, but Canada gets their drugs for about 50% of what we get them for. Same drug, same exact pill, company, everything. Johnson & Johnson, whatever the company. Ron is going to buy from Canada and he’s just cut your price in half,” said Trump.
The Florida legislature approved the drug importation plan last year and Trump signed an executive order in July to allow it to go forward. That order may face legal challenges and continues to be opposed by pharmaceutical companies and the Canadian government.
Still when Trump asked DeSantis from the podium when cheaper medications would become available to Floridians, DeSantis said, “very soon.”
Outside the amphitheater, hundreds of Trump supporters gathered behind a police barricade along Dean Street, including Krista Azeltine who’s visiting the area on vacation from Ohio. She said her life has improved under the Trump administration.
“My husband and I are self-employed. Are you kidding? He’s removed so many of the penalties we’ve needed to run our company. And again, to build within the United States. We’re a home builder. And all the things that he’s done right now,” said Azeltine.
“Just the fact that he is allowing me to make my own choices. Oh my gosh! Absolutely, I don’t have to give my money to somebody else. I don’t have to pretend that somebody’s owning him. Nobody owns that man! Nobody!”
A smaller number of people holding Biden campaign signs also showed up, including Danielle Hagmann, who said she wanted to be presence on behalf of others who were unable to attend or who were to scared.
“There is a minority here that we believe in something better for our future. We believe in progress. We believe in inclusivity. We believe in all the good things that we’re supposed to move forward with and I feel like the way it’s been the past four years, we’re just kind of stuck in place,” said Hagmann.
“And there’s a vast majority of people who are okay with that, but we are not.”
Trump left Fort Myers for another Florida campaign event in Ocala at 4 p.m. before heading to a rally in Macon, Georgia Friday evening.
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