Jo Ann Emerson: Fertile Grounds for Criticism

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  • 01/16/2007
We are often criticized for being too critical of people in the public eye. So I will try and be extra careful in my remarks about Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri. She stood with Democrats to sponsor HR 4 the bill that would have required price controls for prescription drugs in the Medicare program. And she is a co-sponsor of a bill that would require reimportation of drug from foreign countries, a bill that would make it a criminal activity for companies to determine which wholesalers they want to sell to and would turn the FDA into a parcel service for European middlemen. Ms. Emerson has been vocal, indeed eloquent in her support for price controls on drugs and for allowing the importation of drugs that are cheaper from other countries due to government price controls and not because of any ingenious production method or competitive practice of another company.

Ms. Emerson says "The high cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. demands that we improve Americans' market access to safe, affordable supplies of medicines."

One of the medicines Ms. Emerson is so concerned about?

"Prilosec, they use it for gas and that sort of thing..."

Setting aside Ms. Emerson's deep knowledge of phamacotherapy, it appears her concern about the high cost of products and free trade does not extend to steel or wheat or . fertilizer from Mother Russia...

She, supported American steel companies seeking duties up to 40 percent on imported metal products and sought to ban the importation of low priced Canadian wheat. At the same time. she has opposed an International Trade Commission ruling that Russia was dumping fertilizers into America at predatory prices, because the resulting tariffs would hurt farmers.

So she opposes the importation of low priced products when it comes to wheat and steel, supports the importation of fertilizers because it helps farmers.

And she supports signficant increases in agricultural subsidies, most of which go to large corporate farms on grounds of national security....

"Re-authorizing the farm bill is the best thing to do right now," she said. "Because if we want to be dependent on countries in the world who hate us for our nation's food, then we might as well fold up shop."

But being depending on countries who hate us for our medicines is ok? Does she know who works at most of the major ports in Europe and Canada by the way?

If you find no logic or consistency to this voting -- if you smell rank opportunism as opposed to intellect driving these decisions you are not alone. For more evidence, I offer the following quote from Ms. Emerson herself explaining why she is voting with the Democrats, now that they’re in the majority, rather than with her leadership (from the NY Times):

"You're freer to vote your conscience," said Rep. Jo Anne Emerson (R-Mo.), who received an 88 percent voting record from the American Conservative Union in 2005 but has so far sided with Democrats on new budget rules, Medicare prescription-drug negotiations, raising the minimum wage and funding stem cell research. "Or, really, I feel free to represent my constituents exactly as they want me to be."

Translation: My principles. They use it for gas and that sort of thing.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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