Labor leaders call for "health tax"

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House and Labor leaders say there was a frank discussion between President Barack Obama and union heads over a tax on high-end health care plans.

Obama favors the tax as a way to help pay for health care reform. Unions expressed their frustration at that, noting that many of the millions of middle class Americans who would be hit by the tax aren't even union members.

Before the nearly two-hour meeting, the president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, delivered a broadside.

Trumka warned that Democrats risk catastrophic election defeats similar to 1994 if they fail to come up with a health bill labor likes.

Trumka stopped short of saying labor would actively oppose the bill. Trumka said bringing Americans health care reform "is too important for us to get this close and then say we quit."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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