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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not Enough H1N1 Vaccine? Why Isn't Free Market Solving?

GOP House candidate Thad Wasson tickles my logical-fallacy bone this morning with a dollop of "blame government" paranoia. He sees detainees at Guantanamo slated to receive H1N1 vaccine as a sign that the federal government's "total control of health" leads to rationing and prioritizing.

I prefer to look at the treatment of prisoners throughout the country as part of the moral argument that we have a moral obligation to take care of each other and that government ought to be the single provider at least of health insurance. If it's good enough for prisoners, soldiers, veterans, public employees, and retirees, it's good enough for me.

But specifically on swine flu shots: if everyone is so darned eager to get shots, why isn't the free market solving? Medicine comes from private companies running private factories. If I were a pharmaceutical giant, and I knew there were a bunch of scared folks eager to pay top dollar to avoid the pandemic they hear about in the news every day, I'd be running my factories overtime... unless, of course, someone demonstrated that the profit such basic, essential medicine wouldn't outweigh what I make on luxury drugs like Botox and Viagra.

The Obama Administration has said that they've made their predictions on vaccine avvailability based on numbers provided by industry. And really, if you want more vaccine, what solution do you want? Would you prefer the government nationalize the pharmaceutical industry and direct all production toward H1N1 vaccine and Tamiflu? Would you prefer the CDC do even less science, less testing before sending the vaccine to market?

Blaming the government for H1N1 vaccine shortage, not to mention the conclusions that "government can't do anything right," is just a smokescreen of political spin. I could suggest a free market solution: if you want more vaccine, you should make it yourself. But that's about as realistic as Steve Sibson's suggestion that the solution to underinsurance is for you and me to start our own insurance companies.

For all the griping, I still haven't heard an effective free market solution for the H1N1 vaccine situation. If you want more shots, it seems to me your only option is more radical government intervention in health care, not less.


  1. Typical, that Washington would pass the buck when pressed for a legitimate reason why there is such a shortage of flu vaccinations. "Not my fault!"

    Americans and industry, when challenged under our free market for-profit system, can get anything done quickly, but when you bring in the government, with its red tape, paperwork and regulations, the wheels slow to a near stop.

    The H1N1 swine flu vaccination shortage, deficiency and medical fears are just another example of big government being ineffective and lethargic.

  2. I'm just fine with the vaccination shortage. Get sick! it makes you stronger, as long as you take care.

  3. My thought is that the limited number of vaccines has more to do with the short amount of time private business had to develop and manufacture this vaccine. It has to be quite a process, which means more will be available next year.


  4. Now that's the Kristen I know and fear. ;-)

    Rod: pass the buck? Sometimes, things really aren't the government's fault. What action do you want the government to take? Lift all regulations on drugs and testing? The Glenn Beck crowd has been spreading hysteria about the vaccine for being rushed to market without enough testing. What exactly is the government doing wrong?


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