How Health Care is Trumping Energy

A few days ago, David Roberts – on his consistently good blog at Grist – asked if health care was going to “eclipse” energy and stall passage of comprehensive climate legislation.

The answer seems to be yes, in spite of the Obama administration’s seeming desire to have their cake and eat it too. Today, the administration touted the release of a climate change report, and the UK Guardian notes that the report and its roll out are very much a part of the strategy to “build public support” for the Waxman-Markey bill.

Its an interesting juxtaposition with the health care debate that has taken over the stage in the past week. Health care is ALL touch and feel. It plays. Everyone seems to “get” it, and it was amazing to watch how thoroughly it captured the punditocracy and the public imagination.

Energy is still just not there. Climate change deniers may increasingly be seen as wackos, but the average American still doesn’t “feel” the energy issue as intuitively as health care. Sure, its been around longer, but it also is just so much more at the core of the typical life experience. No unfamiliar technology, no skeptics, no “case” to make.

Energy reform may be hot, but its clear in this little informal competition that shifting the paradigm in the way that industry experts, regulators, economists and environmentalists advocate is still a long way from the universal acknowledgement as part of the public canon.

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One comment on “How Health Care is Trumping Energy


Unless gasoline hits $3.50/gallon it will be difficult to get the same sense of urgency. And then you’ll have those who want to exploit tar shale, drill near the shore, etc.

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