Letter to the Editor

Emerson's reasonable approach

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An interview with congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson appeared in the paper Sept. 3. First, it should be noted that Representative Emerson is a Republican. That puts in dramatic relief the fact that she discusses health care reform in a clear, objective, reasonable manner.

It is useful to compare her comments to those of former state representative Patrick Naeger, which appeared on the Opinion page the day before. In his piece he says some reforms are needed but never mentions a single thing that can be improved. Instead, he uses words like "immoral" when discussing the idea that we might improve health care.

Congresswoman Emerson, on the other hand, lists nine specific proposals to change our existing system to make it better. Nine! Each of which makes sense. Some of which are controversial but for which a strong argument can be made. For example, she wants the government to be able to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies. You won't catch the Naegers of the world embracing such an idea.

My point is that congresswoman Emerson is someone with whom a reasonable discussion of differences can be had. I disagree with her on some points on health care reform. I very seriously disagree with her on cap-and-trade, which is also mentioned in the article. But she is one of the vanishingly small number of Republicans in Washington with whom one can discuss policy differences in a reasonable manner.

She should have the appreciation of all fair-minded people.

JOHN L. COOK, Cape Girardeau