Gov. Jerry Brown asks California workers to contribute toward half of retirement health costs

Economic Indicators Associated Press

After tackling pension changes for public employees and teachers, Gov. Jerry Brown is now setting his sights on another big debt: retiree health care benefits.

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California faces an estimated $72 billion unfunded liability for more than 800,000 state employees and their families to provide health coverage once workers retire from civil service and for those who have already retired.

Brown wants to negotiate with state workers to chip in half of the cost. He wants new employees to work longer in order to qualify for full benefits. And he wants to look for savings by offering high-deductible health plans.

Even if Brown succeeds at the bargaining table, it won't put much of dent in the state's long-term liability because the state hasn't prepared much at all.