Giles: Health Care Vote Is the First Step

Nancy Giles sunday morning contributor
Not sure exactly what's happening with the health care vote in the House? CBS Sunday Morning Contributor Nancy Giles on why Sunday's vote is crucial for Americans...

HR 4872 Reconciliation Act of 2010 - yes, that's really what it's called - won't fix everything that's wrong with our current health care system.
I'd like a kind of Medicare-for-all. That's not in the bill. I don't want private insurance companies to keep making huge profits, and it looks like they will for now. And a big chunk of the reforms in the bill won't go into effect until 2014. 2014? I have no concept of 2014.

But if the bill is passed, here's what will happen this year: Insurance plans will no longer exclude children with pre-existing conditions. If you're on a health care plan now, your children's coverage will continue to 26. If you're a senior, the bill will start to close what's come to be called the "donut hole" - the current coverage gap for prescription drugs.

And the bill will also restrict lifetime limits on your insurance benefits.

So I'm a progressive, and I don't consider this bill, or Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), or anyone who supports this legislation to be "selling out" because it doesn't go far enough. The bottom line is 30 million more people will get health care coverage, and that will save lives now. Voting "yes" gets a foot in the door.

Change takes serious effort, but progress happens. The fight for women's rights didn't end when we got the right to vote in 1920; the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act signed just last year was another move toward true gender equality. Civil rights didn't end with the Emancipation Proclamation or the Voting Rights Act of 1964.

HR 4872 is a crucial first step, and can be amended and improved, but doing nothing is not an option. Health care should be a basic human right. And no one should be uninsured, or underinsured, or go broke paying their medical bills in the richest country in the world.