Vitter right on medicine, immigration problems

U.S. Sen. David Vitter has found smart ways to make his voice heard amid the cacophony coming from Bailouts ‘R’ U.S., formerly known as the White House.

Even as the Obama administration gives taxpayers a steep negative balance in hopes of “stimulating” banks, car makers and what-have-you, Vitter has commanded attention by focusing on issues that resonate positively with Middle America.

Notably, the first-term Republican senator from Louisiana has reinvigorated efforts to reduce medical costs by giving consumers access to less expensive prescription medicine from Canada; and he has called for implementation of a rule requiring employers to follow up when employees provide Social Security numbers that don’t match federal records.

Both matters affect the interests of the individual and the nation, and both stand the test of common sense.

No matter where one stands on the bigger issue of health-care reform, everyone agrees that price of prescription medicine is inflated by government restrictions.

Critics of efforts to allow medicine to be imported from Canada are right to point to the prospect of pill-selling scams and counterfeit products, but they are wrong to let the matter die there.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services have the ability to police the business to ensure consumer safety. What they don’t have is the authority to do so.

That can be fixed. All that’s needed is the political will in Congress to take on the pharmaceutical industry, the most profitable business in the United States, home of the world’s highest drug prices.

Similarly, Vitter has been pushing to reinstate a federal rule regarding employment eligibility that had been blocked by a judge in California. It required notification of employers when Social Security numbers provided by employees did not match federal records – the right thing to do.

Vitter’s efforts were on point, even if events have overtaken him.

As of Sept. 8, E-Verify, a voluntary employee-eligibility program started in 1997, will become required of all firms seeking federal contracts. It will verify that new and existing employees working under those contracts are in the country legally.

E-Verify will take a meaningful step toward maintaining a legal workforce, something which Sen. Vitter – and most Americans – say is important.

– Town Talk, Alexandria, La.