Infighting

Unions Attack Health-Care Bill

The Senate Finance Committee’s health-care compromise won over one Republican, but labor unions are rallying against the bill, criticizing it as “deeply flawed” because it lacks a public-insurance option and taxes expensive health-insurance plans. The AFL-CIO and several of its affiliates bought ads in major newspapers that argued that a government plan is needed because it would keep costs down by competing with big insurers. The unions threatened to oppose the legislation unless changes are made to the final bill, and they’re worried that the president might sign a bill without the public option. An AFL-CIO lobbyist said he’s “optimistic the bill is going to improve.” But the president of another union, AFSCME, was harsher: "We worked like hell in 2006 to have the House go Democrat. We worked in all the other years for Democrats. Now we've got a Democrat in the White House and we expect some positive things.” Labor groups oppose taxes on health-care benefits because they’ve forgone higher wages in exchange for better benefits.