Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Stupid Question
When Bob Schieffer at the third Presidential debate asked the question, "Suddenly we find ourselves with a severe shortage of flu vaccine. How did that happen?"
That was a serious question? How much does the president really have to do with the supply of flu vaccine?
The president started strong on this question, but headed in the wrong direction. Medical lawsuits are a problem, but that has little effect on vaccine distribution. The real problem is that the government protections against price-gouging. Sure, you want to protect the citizens from evil greedy pharmacutical companies, but that causes some other less desireable effects, namely the companies producing the vaccine can't afford to prepare extra in case there is a problem. Since price fixing was put in place, no American company wants to make the vaccine, so we have to go to England and Canada and have the vaccine imported, which presents other risks.
Really this has little to do with the current President, as the price gouging has been in place for a while.
Kerry, by the way just blabbered off into a discussion about how health care in general has deteriorated under Bush and how his plan will bla bla bla... Completely ingnored the question.

Here's a site with some links to comentaries on the vaccine issue. There is also a good commentary from Medipundit comparing Kerry's health care plan to the currently operating one in Tennessee. That's not a compliment, by the way.
Kevin Drum has a good post on this too, although he wraps up the anti-gouging issue in a "regulations" point he makes.

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