Scott Walker to JFC: Don't leave $60 million on the table

By M.D. Kittle

Gov. Scott Walker and members of his administration are firing back at Republicans who have all but declared the governor's self-insurance plan dead on arrival.

A key Walker administration official tells MacIver News Service that lawmakers and insurers have been engaging in "fear mongering" and the Legislature will have a hard time explaining to taxpayers why they are "leaving $60 million in savings on the table."

"It's a step in the wrong direction if they go down this path," Walker said of the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee during an interview Wednesday with conservative talk show host Vicki McKenna.

"Why would you walk away from $60 million in proven savings out there when you've got people wanting to spend more money on transportation," Walker added during the interview on NewsTalk 1310 WIBA in Madison. "At a time when they're looking for money it seems like walking away from $60 million is ridiculous."

The governor used his radio address Thursday to take the same message to the public.

Walker in recent days has ramped up his rhetorical campaign in an effort save one of his more ambitious biennial budget proposals from the sharp knife of the powerful budget-writing committee.

Top administration officials have been hammering home the message that moving some 250,000 state employees to a self-insurance model would be a huge savings for taxpayers while maintaining quality health care for enrollees.

Plan critics, particularly Wisconsin's insurance lobby and some of their allies in the Legislature, insist Walker's idea is risky and could disrupt and damage the state's robust health insurance marketplace.

Read more at the MacIver Institute

Photo: Getty Images

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