Last week, the City of Detroit filed for bankruptcy, making it the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. It’s a remarkable story, especially for natives of the state, like me, who have watched Detroit slowly decline for decades. But it’s even more remarkable when you consider the fact that the Michigan state legislature is on the verge of adding billions in unfunded liabilities to the state’s Medicaid program, precisely at the time when Michigan’s politicians should be most acutely aware of the dangers of fiscal irresponsibility.

In June 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that states had the legal right to opt out of Obamacare’s dramatic expansion of the Medicaid program, America’s government-run health care program for low-income individuals. Unlike Medicare and Obamacare’s insurance exchanges, which are funded by the federal government, Medicaid is jointly funded by the states and the federal government.

In Michigan, the feds pay for about two-thirds of the program. But the state’s one-third share is still a large number, nearing $4 billion a year. Of Gov. Rick Snyder’s fiscal 2014 budget of $50.9 billion, 45 percent will be spent on health and human services, compared to 30 percent for education, the next highest total. [Link]