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Health Care Needs Its Mary Barra

By KIM BELLARD

With all that has been going on, I’ve been remiss in reflecting on General Motor’s big announcement a couple weeks ago: it is going to have an all electric, zero emissions fleet of “light duty” vehicles (cars, SUVs, pickups) by 2035, and be carbon neutral by 2040.  One of the largest manufacturers of internal combustion vehicles for over a hundred years is recognizing that its past is not its future.

Of course, I immediately wondered what the equivalent move in healthcare would be, and from whom.   

In the announcement, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra declared:

General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener and better world.  We encourage others to follow suit and make a significant impact on our industry and on the economy as a whole.

You can just imagine Henry Ford fuming in his grave.

GM has had electric vehicles for some time, but they remain a small percentage of its business, as they do among the auto industry generally (Tesla’s market cap notwithstanding).  GM had supported the Trump Administration’s policies efforts to rescind emission standards, which benefited internal combustion engines, but quickly changed course in light of Biden Administration priorities on climate change.

 GM now plans to spend some $27b on electric and autonomous vehicles over the next few years.  “We’re committed to fighting for EV market share until we are No. 1 in North America, Ms. Barra said at an investor’s conference.   “EVs are core to creating GM shareholder value.”

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