GOP congressman demands lower drug costs after voting against lowering drug costs


Rep. Tom Emmer recently joined 190 of his Republican colleagues in opposing a bill to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

On Tuesday, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) encouraged House Democrats to focus on issues like lowering the cost of prescription drugs, apparently forgetting that he recently voted against legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

Emmer criticized the House Democrats' "need to simply impeach without addressing the things that are most important to Americans," on the Simon Conway Show. "Let's deal with prescription drug costs. Let's deal with the things that are important to people today."

Emmer, the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, was answering a question about how Republicans were going to take back the House majority after their historic losses in 2018. Emmer said the House Democrats ignoring prescription drug prices is "gonna cost them" in this year's election.

The only issue: House Democrats passed a bill in December to lower the costs of prescription drugs. Emmer and 190 of his Republican colleagues voted against it.

On Dec. 12, 2019, the House passed the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act which would help limit out-of-pocket costs, rein in prescription drug price hikes, and give the federal government the authority to negotiate the costs of some prescription drugs covered under Medicare.

Since the beginning of 2020, the costs of more than 600 prescription drugs have increased, according to GoodRx. The bill Emmer voted against would drive down the cost of some medications by as much as 96%.

For example, the cost of arthritis drug Humira, which increased by more than 7%, would drop by 81% under the House-passed legislation, according to an analysis by the House Ways and Means Committee. Premarin, a drug to fight breast cancer, would cost 96% less per year under the House-passed legislation, according to the same analysis.

Contrary to Emmer's comments, Democrats are well aware of the importance of health care and prescription drugs.

In a mid-January phone interview, Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) said the price of prescription drugs "is one of the top issues" she hears about from her constituents.

For Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA), a medical doctor, the issue is personal.

"As someone with Type 1 Diabetes, I have seen the cost of my insulin increase seven-fold in the last two decades," Schrier said in an email when asked about the cost of prescription drugs going up.

Unlike Emmer, both Chu and Schrier voted in favor of legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.