Friday, June 17, 2011

Sir Elton John gives Florida Governor Rick Scott the "Crocodile Rock"

"Well Crocodile Rocking is something shocking when your feet just can't keep still I never knew me a better time and I guess I never will...Oh Lawdy mama those Friday nights when Suzie wore her dresses tight and the Crocodile Rocking was out of sight"

-- Sir Elton Joh

Embattled Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) was put on noticed by Sir Elton John that his State's proposed eligibility changes to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program ("ADAP") - which would essentially kick up to 1,800-plus Floridians living with HIV/AIDS off the program and leave them with few treatment options - was unacceptable. John, who is the Founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation - wrote to the governor earlier this month, pleading with him to protect the program's integrity by preserving existing eligibility guidelines.

"Given that life-saving HIV/AIDS medications can cost between $10,000 and $30,000 per year, this proposal would put these low-income individuals with HIV/AIDS in the untenable position of being completely unable to afford treatment for an incurable, communicable disease," read, in part, John's letter.

As of June 10th, there were 8,230 people living with HIV/AIDS on ADAP waiting lists in 13 states. Florida has the largest ADAP waiting list, with 3,529 Floridians living with HIV/AIDS being denied care. Health care rationing is not only fiscally short-sighted, especially with a disease such as HIV/AIDS, but it also goes against the very fabric of the American experience. Yet, it happens all too often and something needs to change!

The letter represents the first high-profile gesture of support for the cash-strapped ADAPs...something that many within the HIV/AIDS community will propel the issue to higher level of media and public scrutiny. Long ago were the days when the disease garnered national attention in the morning newspapers and evening television news broadcast. Despite a few national news stories sprinkled here and there, including a recent Op-Ed by Charles Blow in the New York Times, most of the media attention has been focused at the local level.

Now, John has taken his case directly to the public by starting an online petition, which he hopes to send to Gov. Scott. The Florida Independent first reported that the online petition was started because the governor still had not responded to his June 1st appeal.

Some might say that Sir Elton John decided to give Gov. Scott the "Crocodile Rock." As of today (June 17th), there were already 1,053 signatures on the online petition (including this author)!

The petition reads, in part:

"Dear Governor Scott:

We, the undersigned, co-sign and endorse the attached letter from Sir Elton John and David Furnish calling on you to not cut vital HIV medication access to Floridians in need.

The full text of the letter can be found here:

CLICK HERE to sign the online petition today!

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