Walker makes final push for self-insurance switch

Gov. Scott Walker is making a final push to move the state’s 250,000 public workers to a self-insurance model despite facing an uphill fight.

Walker said in a news release Monday his administration negotiated self-insurance contracts that could generate an additional $60 million for the state to invest in education. Under the plan, the state would contract with health insurance companies to administer the program instead of purchasing insurance from HMOs.

But the Legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee, which must approve the contracts, hasn’t shown interest. Republican Sen. Luther Olsen has said he doesn’t think there are enough votes to pass it. Some lawmakers have worried it’d lead to job losses in the insurance industry, which Walker has disputed.

The committee has 21 days to reject Walker’s proposal.