While certainly there is work to be done on the climate change front, the potential side effects of global warming are still a ways down the road, while the side effects of being uninsured are immediate. Similarly, the costs of future global warming are hard to predict, while the costs of not reforming our healthcare system are relatively easy to predict. In other words, climate change is something we are still on some levels unsure about we know it’s happening, we know we’re contributing to it, but we don’t know exactly what will happen in the end and for most Americans, it’s still a fairly vague, abstract fear in any case. If you get really sick and don’t have insurance that’s immediate. If you can’t get health insurance because you have health problems or you’re too old (but not old enough for Medicare), that’s a problem for the here and now. That’s a problem you can sink your teeth into. If you have a large carbon footprint, well, you’re probably not doing too bad.
Ezra Klein thinks Obama would have done climate change first if he had the votes.