Gibbs: Obama Will Listen to Labor Concerns on Health Tax

Posted January 11, 2010 at 1:23pm

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday reiterated that President Barack Obama supports provisions in Senate health care legislation that would tax “Cadillac— health plans, but said he will listen to union officials’ concerns during a meeting later in the day. Obama “supported the Senate bill, and that — that provision was in that bill for what it does in terms of changing the direction of health care costs,— Gibbs said.Union officials object to the provision because it may hit generous health plans they’ve negotiated for some of their members.During the Monday afternoon session with top union officials at the White House, Obama is also likely to hear concerns about the lack of movement in Congress of the Employee Free Choice Act and labor objections to provisions of immigration legislation that may move this year.Asked whether Obama would be open to negotiating with labor leaders on the level of the health plan tax that has been proposed, Gibbs replied, “I certainly think the level is one of the topics that will come up.—Gibbs acknowledged that the amount of enthusiasm among labor’s foot soldiers for the president’s agenda and for Democrats in 2010 is likely to be a topic of discussion. But he rejected suggestions that motivation will be lacking.“I think working men and women in this country will be plenty motivated in 2010 about the choices that they have in front of them,— Gibbs said. “I don’t think it will be a hard decision to make when one looks at the agenda on the president’s side, what we’ve done to get our economy restarted, to make college more affordable, to bring health care to those that don’t have it, and to correct insurance imbalances for those that do.—