I'm not going to discuss the health care debate, because others are doing a better job of that, especially in terms of evaluating its prospects; I am not a political scientist of any sort, and the outcome is not obvious to me. The fact that I'm not in the United States right now may be contributing to my ignorance of what's happening here, as nuanced discussions of American politics evade me olde daily discourse. I give the issue mention here, in this blog, because changing our health care system will certainly change prioritization of research; if I remember what I've read right, guys like Dan Sarewitz have referred to the American health care system as a particularly contentious place for the linear model of science. We pour heaps of dollars into research and development, yet the benefits (especially in the short term) are unclear; the cutting edge treatments that we discover are prohibitively expensive for most people, who cannot access older treatments that could be of great benefit them.
I also want to point out that the House just passed H.R. 1622, the bill providing for a R&D + demonstration of a natural gas vehicle. I previously presumed that the bill wouldn't go anywhere, but it actually was voted on and passed with wide bipartisan support (393-35-5 Y-N-NV).
I still stand by my eariler analysis of what this bill means, and will hold out to see what becomes of it in the Senate and beyond.