[Question about flu vaccine shortage]
BUSH: […] We have a problem with litigation in the United States of America. Vaccine manufacturers are worried about getting sued, and therefore they have backed off from providing this kind of vaccine. [ed.: see Dec. 24 and earlier links]
One of the reasons I’m such a strong believer in legal reform is so that people aren’t afraid of producing a product that is necessary for the health of our citizens and then end up getting sued in a court of law. […]
KERRY: […] This president has turned his back on the wellness of America. And there is no system. In fact, it’s starting to fall apart not because of lawsuits — though they are a problem, and John Edwards and I are committed to fixing them [Oct. 12] — but because of the larger issue that we don’t cover Americans. […]
[Question on medical insurance costs]
BUSH: […] I do believe the lawsuits — I don’t believe, I know — that the lawsuits are causing health care costs to rise in America. That’s why I’m such a strong believer in medical liability reform.
In the last debate [Oct. 9], my opponent said those lawsuits only caused the cost to go up by 1 percent. Well, he didn’t include the defensive practice of medicine that costs the federal government some $28 billion a year and costs our society between $60 billion and $100 billion a year. […]
[Kerry’s response addressed Medicare bulk purchasing, the uninsured, and prescription drug reimportation, but not medical malpractice reform.]
Alex Tabarrok also has more on vaccines.