Health Care for Hybrids

On Nov. 17, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., introduced a “Health Care for Hybrids” bill that outlines a new approach for boosting fuel efficiency in Detroit. It would offer struggling U.S. automakers a voluntary but potentially enticing deal: relief from some of the high health care costs they pay for retired employees (expected to total more than $5 billion in 2005) in exchange for a commitment to reinvest at least half of those savings in the development and manufacture of fuel-efficient vehicles.

Now, is this an argument for Hybrids or for Universal Health Care? I think it is a little bit of both. How high do fuel/health care cost have to rise before we have a honest national debate on our priorities.