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Walker says no decision made on insurance plan

By Jessica Arp, jarp@wisctv.com
Published On: Oct 02 2013 06:15:06 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 02 2013 08:34:03 PM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

Gov. Scott Walker said the state should get more information on changing the state health insurance system, but the idea is already drawing fire.

Walker is stressing that no decision has been made, but said it's in the state's best interest to gather more information on whether the state should move to a self-insurance system.

Speaking to reporters at the World Dairy Expo Wednesday, Walker said the state group insurance board is studying the issue and no decision has been reached on what to do.

A study late last year found that if the state self-insured or paid directly for employee health care costs, they could save $20 million. But since they wouldn't know exactly how much those costs could be, switching could cost the state $100 million more.

The study was updated in August to say that savings could be 4-5 percent over costs now because of avoiding new taxes and fees from the Affordable Care Act. The study also said that competition among the 18 HMOs providing health care now already was saving the state money, and any change could cause major provider disruption around the state.

"We have not proposed a plan," said Walker. "We may find after all that we're going to stay with the status quo, we may find we're going to change, we may find some sort of a hybrid, but there have been no conclusions made in that regard."

"We would think this would be a horrible thing," said AFSCME Executive Director Marty Beil. "Some people would say this would be a single-payer plan, and maybe so. But for Walker and his gang to do this, they haven't done anything right."

The Wisconsin Association of Health Plans declined to comment to WISC-TV. A spokesman for Physicians Plus said Wednesday they believe the current competitive model is working to keep costs down.

The state group insurance board is set to consider next Friday whether or not to put out an official request for proposals for someone to administer this system. The governor said that's because they couldn't get enough information through research so far.

Beil said he's afraid it's because they plan to go ahead no matter what.

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