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Location: Oaksterdam, California

Friday, June 25, 2004

Calling Ed McMahon...

Via Corrente I learned that:

Medicare Lottery Will Give Drug Coverage to 50,000; Others Must Wait Until 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) - 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.
"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.

Reading this I immediately thought of Stephen King’s (writing as Richard Bachman) book, “The Running Man”. The book, not that piece-of-trash-movie-vehicle for Arnold, paints a bleak picture of a future where the poor participate in privatized healthcare by becoming contestants on game-shows.

“We’ll get a doctor. Try not to worry so much. Listen-“ She began to babble frantically to distract him; he had turned around and was watching the Free-Vee again. Half-time was over, and the game was on again. This wasn’t one of the big ones, of course, just a cheap daytime come-on called Treadmill to Bucks. They accepted only chronic heart, liver, or lung patients, sometimes throwing in a crip for comic relief. Every minute the contestant could stay on the treadmill (keeping up a steady flow of chatter with the emcee), he won ten dollars. Every two minutes the emcee asked a Bonus Question in the contestant’s category (the current pal, a heart-murmur from Hackensack, was an American history buff) which was worth fifty dollars. If the contestant, dizzy, out of breath, heart doing fantastic rubber acrobatics in his chest, missed the question, fifty dollars was deducted from his winnings and the treadmill was speeded up.(Source)

So, just in time for the elections some lucky duckies will get much needed medicines. At least they weren’t asked to draw straws. With the direction healthcare is going in this country and when it comes to prolonging life (unless you are wealthy or can afford insurance), you have no right to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness…