You may recall the news from a few days ago that extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program would cost only $0.8 billion, which should make it very easy to pass. As it happens, that estimate only included seven years of funding, for reasons I couldn’t quite figure out. (It’s a five-year funding bill.) But no matter. CBO has now estimated its cost assuming that it’s reauthorized for a full ten years. Here it is:
The reason the cost goes down over time is that it’s based on the savings from kids leaving Obamacare in favor of CHIP. The more expensive Obamacare is, the bigger the relative savings from getting kids into CHIP. And since the Republican tax bill makes Obamacare more and more expensive over time, it makes CHIP more and more cost-effective over time. This is stupid, but that’s what Republicans did.
In the end, then, reauthorizing CHIP saves us $6 billion over ten years. Can we pass it now?