HARI SREENIVASAN: President Obama signaled today he’s exploring Republican ideas on health care reform. He did so in a letter to congressional leaders.
The proposals include using undercover investigators to expose fraud and waste in Medicare and Medicaid, increasing medical malpractice reform programs, stepping up Medicaid reimbursements to doctors, and expanding the use of health savings accounts. The president rejected demands to start over on health care reform. Instead, he will lay out his plans for how to move ahead in a speech tomorrow.
All new vehicles sold in the U.S. may have to come with brakes that override the gas pedal. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today his department may recommend that step. It is the latest fallout from unexplained accelerations in Toyotas.
LaHood also told a Senate hearing that Toyota has to change its way of doing business.
RAY LAHOOD, U.S. secretary of transportation: I believe the Toyota business model is broken. I told Mr. Toyoda that. When they have good expert people, professional people in North America making recommendations, and then they don’t listen to them, their business model is broken. I think Mr. Toyoda got that message.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Fifty-two deaths are now linked to sudden acceleration in Toyotas. The company has recalled about six million vehicles in the U.S. since last September. But, today, a New York Times analysis showed cars that were not recalled, Toyota Camrys built before 2007, have a comparable number of speed control issues.
For the record, Toyota is a “NewsHour” underwriter.
Toyota sales fall 9 percent last month, due mostly to the recalls. In contrast, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler reported increases, despite snowstorms that hurt business in the Northeast and Midwest. Ford outsold GM for the first time in a decade, with sales up 43 percent. Sales at General Motors rose by more than 11 percent, and Chrysler edged up slightly, by half-a-percent.
GM announced a recall of its own today. The action involves power steering problems in 1.3 million Chevrolet and Pontiac compact cars in North America. GM said the cars never lose steering, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has — has received more than 1,100 complaints about a loss of power steering, including more than a dozen crashes. In the U.S., the recall covers Chevy Cobalts built between 2005 and 2010 and the Pontiac G5 from 2007 to 2010.
It was a quiet day on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average gained two points to close under 10406. The Nasdaq rose seven points to close above 2280.
Mudslides in eastern Uganda killed at least 70 people today, and at least 250 others were missing. Heavy rain triggered the muddy surge in a region 170 miles east of the capital, Kampala. Houses, stores and at least one school were buried. The government called out the army to aid in rescue efforts.