What should SCHIP reauthorization look like?
Congress is moving fast to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which is set to expire at the end of March. Reauthorization bills have already passed both chambers of Congress.
Conservatives were quick to complain that the legislation fails to require coverage of the poorest kids before expanding up the income ladder. There also were questions raised about whether immediately covering legal immigrants who are not yet U.S. citizens would eventually lead to coverage of illegal aliens.
Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, objects that both bills ignore last year's agreement "to prevent the crowd out of private coverage, putting more pressure on the federal budget."
Both bills carry $32 billion price tags and would cover about 11 million kids. Both would allow states to lift a five-year coverage delay for legal immigrants and pregnant women. The House bill would place restrictions on physician-owned specialty hospitals.
What do you think are the major strengths or weaknesses of the SCHIP bills passed by the House and Senate?
-- Marilyn Werber Serafini, NationalJournal.com