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Few apply for Medicare drug coverage

Friday, September 10, 2004 Last updated 2:32 p.m. PT

By MARK SHERMAN
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

Nancy Davenport Innis, chief executive of the not-for-profit Patient Advocate Foundation is shown in Washington Friday, Sept. 10, 2004. Far from the expected deluge, applications have lagged for generous, early Medicare prescription drug coverage for patients with cancer and other illnesses.The Bush administration was planning a lottery to fill 50,000 slots that were included in last year's Medicare prescription drug law. Instead, just 6,364 people have applied for the head start on drug insurance for costly oral cancer medicines and self-injectable drugs for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases. (AP Photo/Lauren Burke)

WASHINGTON -- Far from the expected deluge, relatively few patients with cancer and other serious illnesses have applied for generous early Medicare prescription drug coverage.

The Bush administration was planning a lottery to determine who would get the 50,000 slots included in last year's Medicare prescription drug law. Instead, just 6,364 people have applied for the head start on drug insurance for costly cancer medicines taken orally and self-injectable drugs for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases.

The Medicare Web site now advises: "There are still many enrollment slots available!"

Article from : Seattle Post Intelligencer