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National Institute for Health Insurance Reform

One little guy - one big goal - fix a broken system. mailto:rereason@hotmail.com

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Fear, Politics & Health

As fear and avian flu creep across Asia and into Europe, leaders in the United States grope for solutions to the potential crises.

The crazy patchwork quilt of state sponsored private monopolies that constitute the healthcare industry is totally unprepared for pandemic.

A political odd couple, conservative Kansas Senator Pat Roberts and New York Senator Hilary Clinton introduced legislation recently in a attempt to restore minimal US capacity to manufacture vaccines. The president met with vaccine manufacturers to discuss the situation.

Conservatives blame decades of government intervention for the destruction of domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity, and they are half right. The Bush adminstration and the manufacturers themselves blame the potential for lawsuits, as well as simple unprofitability. "You aren’t going to make a huge amount of money making vaccines." said John Clerici, a representative of a French vaccine maker.

Of course, in America, no one in healthcare makes any money until until people get sick.

Preventative care, such as public vaccination programs, generates no profit for businesses. With the high costs of medical care, poor people would never get shots without government intervention. By requiring immunization for children entering public school, we ensure, not only their health, but ours as well. Without public, that is government subsidy, the poor would constitute a pool of culture media for communicable diseases such as polio, tuberculosios, measles and so forth. Our society would struggle with the afflictions we see in third world nations.

By relying on a mixed private monopoly and public sector for healthcare, the United States guarantees poor results at monopoly prices.

No wonder bird flu has the politicians worried.