AFL-CIO backs health care bill despite tax concern

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's largest labor federation agreed Thursday to endorse the Obama administration's health care overhaul bill, despite lingering concerns over a tax on high-cost insurance plans.

Union leaders on the AFL-CIO's executive council voted virtually unanimously to support the plan and said they would aggressively lobby undecided Democrats.

"We're idealistic enough to believe that this is a time to change history that we cannot afford to miss," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters in a conference call.

Union officials reluctantly accepted a change in the plan that would index the tax to the Consumer Price Index instead of the CPI plus 1 percent — a move that would be more expensive for many union policies over time. But Trumka said he is hopeful that could be modified before the tax takes effect in 2020.

"We have 10 years to change something," he said.

Unions also are pleased that they received a commitment from President Barack Obama for future legislation that would require most major construction companies to provide health insurance to their employees.