The most common question I had yesterday regarding the $23.8 billion accrued unfunded liability for retiree health benefits:

How did it grow $10 billion in just one year?

It didn’t. The $13.5 billion figure that was making the rounds was an estimate pulled from the air or done on a napkin (I wasn’t there to know which). The $23.8 billion is the first actuarial estimate of the state’s commitment for retiree health benefits. Future increases will not be as large, though they will be significant until the state addresses the fundamental problem with the pay-as-you-go nature of its retiree health benefits – say with Health Savings Accounts or some other pre-funding mechanism.