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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  • That analysis has changed since Republicans repealed the ACA's individual mandate.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

1 hour ago - World

Soldiers seize power in Burkina Faso as global coup surge continues

Mutinous soldiers in Burkina Faso declared on state television Monday that they had deposed the government, closed the borders, and taken control of the country. President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré has reportedly been arrested.

The big picture: This would be the third successful military coup in west Africa in eight months, after juntas took power last year in Guinea and in neighboring Mali.

3 hours ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 4 hours ago - Economy & Business

S&P 500 on track for worst-ever start to year

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Stocks suffered their steepest drop of the year early Monday, putting the S&P 500 on course for its worst-ever start to a year.

Driving the news: The benchmark S&P 500 dropped for its fifth straight day, with losses nearing 3% in early trading, momentarily putting it on track to fall into a "correction." Some of the steepest losses were recovered in early afternoon trading.