WASHINGTON — A coalition of labor unions is emerging as a leading critic of an $829 billion health care bill heading toward a Senate vote, complicating debate among Democrats over how to pay for the measure.
Unions had largely supported President Obama’s effort to revamp the nation’s $2.6 trillion health care system, but 27 labor groups have launched a campaign against key provisions in the bill passed this week by the Senate Finance Committee.
Many groups with a stake in the health care fight have objected to the legislation — including the insurance trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans — but labor has traditionally had closer ties to Democrats, who control Congress.
Unions spent $75 million on contributions to federal candidates in 2008, 92% of which went to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
“This push is really a reflection of the struggle that’s going to take place in the Democratic Party in how you move forward,” said Jacob Hacker, a political scientist at Yale University.