NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 26, 2009

As if the state's budget problems weren't big enough, California's unfunded obligation for future government retiree health benefits has now topped $48 billion.

According to state Controller John Chiang:

  • The amount California is obligated to pay but has not funded is $340 million more than previously projected.
  • Future obligations now stand at $48.2 billion.
  • The tab would have been higher had the California Public Employees' Retirement System not used surplus money to offset rising health care rates.

CalPERS, the nation's largest health purchaser behind the federal government, covers 783,000 state employees, retirees and their family members.

A bipartisan panel appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger handed over a voluminous report in January 2008 recommending pension reforms.

Source: Associated Press, "Unfunded health costs for Calif. workers tops $48B," San Jose Mercury News, February 24, 2009.

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