Friday, October 15, 2004

Rush Monologue

Rush had a great monolgue on the Flu vaccine crisis. I couldn't say it any better, so I went online and grabbed the transcript. It's pretty long, so don't skip today's other posts linked on the sidebar.

Talking about the flu vaccine:
You know, there is a debate versus reality is what you could say this was last night. Half the vaccine we need, serious shortage of flu shots, half the vaccine we need was lost. It was contaminated, had to throw it down the drain. A British pharmaceutical plant goofed up, made a mistake, and so we were importing it from this company in Britain, and it's no good. We can't use it. Now, this is bad news, this is horrible news to our young and old could save our health delivery system from liberal ideas that sound good but don't work. This instance, this reality, ironically, that we are short of a flu vaccine is the best medicine that we could get right now for fixing this problem and to illustrate how our health delivery system in the hands of liberals sounds great but doesn't work. Do you remember something called the Clinton Government Vaccine Buying Program?
It was sold to us as a way to get prices down and get more children vaccinated and, of course, to keep the evil drug companies from making a profit. The Wall Street Journal says today, "Companies that decided to run these regulatory traps also know that they'll be doing so for very little reward. Before her big health care reform crashed and burned in '94, Hillary Rodham Rodham managed to get Congress to pass a government vaccine buying program for children. Her sales pitch was free vaccines for all kids and higher immunization rates. If we would give this stuff away, she said, more children would be immunized." Oh, goody, wonderful, wonderful. Thus, as a result of Hillary's plan, the government now purchases about 60% of all pediatric vaccines, forcing huge discounts and imposing price caps. The manufacturers were told, ''You can only make so much profit, and you're gonna make this amount, and we're gonna give it away.''

What all this did was screw up the whole private sector mechanism of manufacturing and distributing vaccines. In 2001, the private sector cost of immunizing children with the 20 recommended doses of vaccines was $600 per child. The government price was just $400 per child, with the vaccine makers swallowing the difference. What has this achieved? Vaccination rates for two-year-olds have stagnated at about 74% for the past several years while adult rates are significantly lower, and with the profit margin squeeze to practically zero, some manufacturers have simply said, "We're not making the stuff anymore. It doesn't make sense. We've got this government program that tells us the maximum we can charge, regardless what it costs to make, we're going to be threatened with lawsuits the first time somebody gets sick for whatever vaccine. Screw it!"

And that's why American companies are out of the business and why we have to import vaccines from Great Britain, a combination of Hillary's plan that put a cap on profits, put a cap on prices, and nothing to do with the manufacture price. You combine that with the fact that these manufacturers are subject to constant lawsuits and they said, "Screw it. We're not going to make the stuff anymore," and that's why there is a shortage. This can be traced back to Hillary Clinton's great sounding, compassionate idea, to make sure that every child had a flu shot and every child had a vaccination against various childhood diseases. Well, the fact is only 74% of kids do because there's not enough vaccine. This is not the first real shortage, but because American manufacturers have thrown up their hands and said, "It makes no sense. We are in business, and we don't give things away, and we're certainly not going to take a loss on this."

So they just simply got out of the business. In addition to that, one of the companies that remained and stayed in business was a company called Chiron. They're being sued left and right over financial problems that have nothing to do with the quality of their vaccine. I'm not going to detail what those problems are because it's not relevant, but they're being targeted now. So that's another manufacturer that has put up their hands and said, "Whoa, it isn't worth all this," and so that's why we have to import from Britain, and, lo and behold, they had a company that ended up with their flu vaccines contaminated. Half the supply had to be dumped and this is where we are. We have "outsourced" flu vaccines, essentially, to use a John Kerry word because of Mrs. Clinton's great-sounding program -- remember the name -- the government vaccine buying program.
The vaccine rate did not increase. It drove our vaccine manufacturers out of the business of manufacturing vaccines. The squeeze on profits sounded good to a lot of people because everybody knows that pharmaceutical companies make obscene profits and the money goes to Halliburton and Cheney, but they got out of business rather than sounding good. The fear of crippling lawsuits -- not the lawsuits themselves, just the fear -- the fear of lawsuits drove vaccine makers out of business. The complications of overregulation drove vaccine makers out of business and now John Kerry says, "Where's the vaccine?" Well, don't ask me, folks, ask the liberals! Ask Hillary Clinton! Ask Bill Clinton. They told us, they told themselves, that price caps and centralized buying would make things better. What we end up with is a vaccine mess, but liberals don't apologize. They repeat their mistakes again and again.

Now John Kerry wants price caps and centralized buying prescription drugs and sooner or later on all of health care, and what's even worse, the same people who were taken in by the vaccine pipe dream are now cheering this prescription drug pipe dream. If you buy it, a pox on your face! I shouldn't say that. Just a little attempt at humor, but here's the way to look at this, and I'm using the word "greedy" here advisedly, to make a point. One greedy drug manufacturer with one "greedy drug" has saved more lives than all the liberal politicians combined, because liberal politicians when they get their hands on the health care system or any element of it, that business ends up being damaged to the point that the people in it throw up their hands and quit because there's no profit in it. There's only the fear of lawsuits, and more hassle than it is worth. The Clintons were notorious for two tactics: They took credit for anything good; they made a mountain out of the slightest little molehill. One of the tiniest little problems were called "crises" which demanded massive government action and that's how this vaccine business got started.

"A small number of kids didn't get vaccines because they could not afford." Hillary said, "That's just not right." Bammo! Now half the country has to not take a flu shot because of Hillary Clinton. Have you, by the way, why neither Bill nor Hillary ever mentioned or took credit for this government vaccine buying program? They're all about writing their legacy out there. The Clintons are trying to take credit for everybody that happened in the nineties that was good. Why don't we hear about this government vaccine buying program, hmm? Well, thanks to the Wall Street Journal editorial today called Infection Politics, I now know why. The plan sounded good enough to those who don't understand the real world. Government buys vaccines in bulk; government negotiates lowers prices -- read that: a cap on profits -- and the lower prices will lead to more vaccinations. Why don't the Clintons ever mention it? Why don't they want kudos for their plan? Because it didn't work, it did no good, and as we know now, it's caused a lot of harm.