The Big 3 will have to wait to find out how a second Bush administration would fix a health care system they say impedes their ability to compete with lower-cost, overseas-based rivals.
President Bush's speech at the Republican National Convention in New York last week featured broad, familiar themes and a string of small proposals. It lacked the big new ideas some had desired.
On health care, Bush restated proposals to curb malpractice lawsuits and permit Americans to invest tax-free money in health savings accounts. He called for allowing small businesses to join together to seek lower medical insurance rates. That proposal, if enacted, could help small suppliers and dealers.
But the president avoided the kind of national solution to health care problems that the Big 3 have advocated. The U.S. automakers have union contracts, older work forces and more retirees than their competitors. They say health care expenses add hundreds of dollars to the price of every vehicle they sell.