Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Walker gaffe shows he will deform state employee health care, if given chance

These are three short paragraphs in an article in the La Crosse Tribune. But they say sooooo much.
Any new money for public schools most likely would be distributed through both equalization and categorical aid, Gov. Scott Walker said Monday.

He visited the Barney Center in Sparta for an invitation-only “listening session” that was closed to the media.

Walker has pledged to spend more on public education by using savings from changes to state employee health plans. He said the specifics will come early next year when he sends his biennial budget to the state Legislature.
"Invitation-only "listening session" that was closed to the media? It's nice to know the Guv is staying in touch with everyday Wisconsinites isn't it? And you wonder why this state falls further and further behind the rest of the country in both economy and quality of life when you have this guy deciding to hide inside his protective bubble?

But even worse is what you see in the last sentence. Extra money that goes into public education will be available due to "savings from changes to state employee health plans." What changes are we talking about, Scotty? Notice that he's not saying until after the election (Unintimidated!), but let's go with what we do know on that subject. The Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds sent out a Request for Proposal in July looking for the following.
The objective of this RFP is to acquire health benefits administrators to provide Services that will accommodate the current Uniform Benefit plan design and enhance the value of the plan through the following changes: 

Transition to a self-insured health benefit program; 
Regional, statewide, and nationwide networks; 
Consistent administration of health benefits;
Value based plan design; and 
Data sharing and strategic coordination with other Contractors and/or third party administrators, such as the State’s data warehouse, PBM, consulting actuaries, wellness Contractors, etc.
Those proposals had a deadline of September 20, but conveniently will not be opened and shown in public by the Group Insurance Board until November 15- one week after the elections. Selecting one statewide vendor for self-insurance or even choosing a handful of private organizations to cover the various regions would be a major departure from the competitive environment of bidding that happens with state employee health benefits these days. And a new system is far from guaranteed to give savings to taxpayers....unless Walker has already planned to push off costs onto state employees through higher premiums, or by cutting costs through major reductions in covered services for those employees.

And ya think the chosen vendors just might be champing at the bit to grab the hefty profits that are sure to come from such a system, and that they just might be willing to say "thank you" with a few campaign contributions to Scott Walker's 2020 presidential campaign or the WisGOP legislators that have to sign off on them? Win-win all around! Hey, who cares about the jobs and low-cost efficiencies that go with the well-functioning current health care system for state employees when there's money to be kicked back, right?

What Walker said in Sparta yesterday is the definition of a gaffe- someone telling a truth that they don't want the public to know, and one that makes the speaker look bad. Know that if voters in Wisconsin allow rubber-stamp Republicans to stay in power after November 2016, then this type of screw-job is coming. In a way, I guess we should thank Scotty for being so stupid as to give the game away.


  1. Interesting. Just today it was leaked that a large urban district (Rac*cough* cough* ne) is kicking souses off the health care without any additional compensation- so, yeah, another pay cut to the teachers. It's becoming an annual thing. And that district is below what they made in 2007.

    1. Thanks for sharing. Isnt that the same school board that Robbin' Vos and the rest of WisGOP used state law to replace the entire school.board with new elections?

      By the way, over 3,200 pageviews with this post, largest ever for the blog. Thanks for passing along the word! Now do your jov at the voting booth to make sure this doesnt happen

  2. One kick in teeth after another. The Lt. Gov. spoke at the state library convention on Thursday and I sat and considered what a group of two faced jerks her party is.