By M.D. Kittle MacIver News Service | June 15, 2017
[Madison, Wis...] Gov. Scott Walker's plan to move the state's approximately 250,000 employees and their family members to a self-insurance system is expected to be officially pronounced dead today by the Joint Finance Committee.
"We are going to say no to self-insurance," state Rep. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, told MacIver News Service Wednesday.
But Felzkowski, a member of the budget committee, said the Republican-controlled JFC has a "suite of ideas" to draw savings from the current state health insurance system - perhaps more than $50 million worth after 2018.
That's important. The Walker administration projects the self-insurance proposal could save taxpayers $65 from the basic switch, and an additional $43 million in secondary costs. Opting not to change to a self-insurance model could cost employees significant increases in premiums, and self-insurance would keep the so-called Obamacare tax at bay, saving the state about $22 million.
Joint Finance Committee co-chairman, state Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) has said those savings are disingenuous because the Obamacare tax has yet to be collected and "there's no evidence to show it will be collected in the future."
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has estimated savings from a self-insurance makeover at about $47 million. One consultant's report said the switch could end up costing the state money.
Walker's 2017-19 budget plan uses the projected savings to help increase funding for public education.
Under the self-insurance model, the state would be responsible for paying benefits and taking on the risk for losses, currently the responsibility of 18 private HMOs. READ it HERE