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Walker Defends Proposed Switch to Self-insurance Program

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker is defending his proposed switch to a self-insurance model for public workers, even though Republicans who control the Legislature have been cool to the idea.

Walker told reporters Tuesday that concerns about the possible loss of jobs by moving to self-insurance "doesn't make sense because we're still going to have employees who are still going to need coverage."

Under a self-insurance system, the state would contract with six health insurance companies to administer the program for about 250,000 state workers and family members instead of purchasing insurance from 17 HMOs.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald last week said he was concerned such a move could lead to broad insurance company job losses.

Walker estimates the switch would save $60 million over two years, money he wants to give to K-12 schools.

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