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Senate Health Bill Opposed By Unions, Full-Page Paper Ad Planned

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WASHINGTON — About 30 unions will run a full-page ad in newspapers Wednesday announcing their opposition to the Senate Finance Committee's health overhaul bill, a top labor lobbyist said.

The ad will state that unions will oppose the measure on the Senate floor unless improvements are made, according to Chuck Loveless, legislative director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The ad will state, "Real health care reform and nothing less," Loveless said.

Labor has been a major Democratic ally in the health care debate but is unhappy the legislation lacks a publicly run insurance plan and would tax expensive policies in an effort to drive down costs. Officials also want it to prevent insurance companies from refusing to cover some people and to force employers to cover their workers.

The Finance Committee voted Tuesday to approve the bill, the most conservative of five health overhaul bills congressional panels have written this year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to combine it with the Senate health committee's more liberal version and bring it to the full Senate in perhaps two weeks.

Besides AFSCME, sponsors included the AFL-CIO and the Communications Workers of America. The ad will run in The Washington Post, USA Today and Capitol Hill newspapers.

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