Employer-provided health insurance is just a form of compensation that happens to be provided in kind rather than in cash. What the Times seems to be saying is that because companies like General Motors have promised levels of compensation too large to make them competitive in the international marketplace, we should shift the responsibility for some of that compensation from the companies to the taxpayer.
The Times agrees that this policy of providing health insurance has made GM less competitive in the global market. Doesn't it follow then that by shifting this burden to the taxpayers the US economy would, in the long run, become less competitive? Furthermore, why should workers of sensible companies pay for the awful policies implemented by GM?