Here's the story (my emphasis added):
Posted on Fri, Jun. 25, 2004
Medicare drug lottery to help 50,000
BY MARK SHERMAN
WASHINGTON - Medicare is planning a lottery later this year for people with cancer, multiple sclerosis and several other diseases. For the 50,000 winners, the government will start helping pay for their medicine, but more than 450,000 others must wait until 2006.
Congress wrote the program into last year's Medicare prescription drug law to give a head start to people who take oral cancer drugs that can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year.
Treatments for MS, rheumatoid arthritis and six other illnesses that can be administered at home also will be covered, the Bush administration announced Thursday.
"This initiative will get these breakthrough oral medications into the hands of seniors fighting cancer so that they have the best opportunity possible to beat the disease," said Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio, whose daughter died of cancer. She wrote the provision, along with Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.
However, the law limits the new program to 50,000 people and $500 million, at least $200 million of which must be spent on cancer drugs. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson estimated 500,000 to 600,000 Medicare recipients without prescription drug coverage are eligible.
"There'll be a lottery to be chosen as one of 50,000 lucky individuals," Thompson said.
Medicare will accept applications for the lottery from July 6 to Sept. 30, and will randomly select 25,000 cancer patients and 25,000 people with the other illnesses.
People who apply by Aug. 16 will be eligible for an early draw, with coverage beginning Sept. 1.
HOW TO SIGN UP
For more information and to sign up for the lottery, go to www.medicare.gov and click on "Medicare to Extend Access to Certain Drugs For Beneficiaries with Serious and Chronic Illnesses."
You can also call Medicare at (800) 633-4227 to speak to a representative.
How about calling your actual Representative, and telling them what a fucking travesty this is.
"50,000 winners" !?! Oooo. You with the life-threatening disease, you WIN! You might not die as quickly because the government might help pay for some of your medication! Don't worry, special provisions in the bill requested by the pharmacutecal industry mean you have to take unproven oral medication... As Secretary Thompson says, you sure are "lucky."
Can Michael Moore whip out another movie before November that covers the War this Administration is waging here at home on the vulnerable of our society? Un-fucking-believable.