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Federal CHIP funding expired in September. Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program just keeps getting cheaper. The Congressional Budget Office originally said a five-year extension would cost $8.2 billion over a decade, then lowered the cost to $800 million. Today, CBO said a longer, 10-year extension would ultimately save taxpayers money — about $6 billion over a decade.

Why it matters: Congress’ failure to extend federal CHIP funding is not the result of a fight over CHIP, but rather a fight over how to offset the costs of extending CHIP. Now, though, there are potentially no costs to offset. That ought to make this much easier for Congress to (finally) accomplish.

How it works: Funding CHIP does cost money, obviously. So how does it work out into a net savings? It's because covering kids through CHIP is cheaper than the alternatives, CBO says.

  • If kids aren't covered by CHIP, they'd likely be covered by some combination of Medicaid, subsidized private insurance through the Affordable Care Act, or parents' employer-based health plans (which the federal government also subsidizes). That would ultimately cost more than simply paying for CHIP, CBO said.
  • That analysis has changed since Republicans repealed the ACA's individual mandate. Repealing the mandate will likely cause premiums for ACA coverage to rise dramatically, and that's why CHIP coverage is suddenly so much cheaper when compared to private insurance.
  • Why is a 10-year CHIP extension cheaper than a five-year extension? Because the proposal CBO evaluated would gradually lower the federal government's share of overall CHIP funding, pushing more of those costs to the states over time. The longer the extension, the more it reflects those savings.

Go deeper

Updated 56 mins ago - World

Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" when the gang abducted them in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

Venezuela suspends talks with opposition after Maduro ally extradited to U.S.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. Photo: Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key ally of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. Saturday to face money laundering charges in Florida, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: Venezuela's government called off negotiations with opposition officials that were scheduled for Sunday in Mexico in response to the extradition of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and financial fixer for Maduro. Security forces placed six U.S. oil executives under house arrest later Saturday, per AP.

Kenosha shooting lawsuit accuses police of coordinating with militia

Police and protesters confront in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse on Aug. 25, 2020. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The only survivor of a fatal shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during protests last year has accused law enforcement in a lawsuit of conspiring with a "band of white nationalist vigilantes," the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Of note: Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, is due to stand trial on Nov. 1, accused of wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, who filed the suit, and killing two other people protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 25, 2020. He's pleaded not guilty to charges including homicide and attempted homicide and maintains he fired in self-defense.