White House defends health tax opposed by labor

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is defending a proposal to tax high-value insurance plans to pay for covering millions of uninsured Americans.

President Barack Obama is meeting with labor leaders on the issue Monday afternoon. Labor opposes the tax, arguing it will hurt union members who negotiated good health benefits.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs disputed that the insurance plan tax is similar to what Republican John McCain proposed while running against Obama for president. McCain wanted to eliminate tax-free health benefits altogether. The plan Obama supports in the Senate’s health care bill would tax insurance companies on family plans worth more than $23,000.