March 23rd, 2010
11:52 AM ET

Obama signs health care bill into law

[Updated at 11:55 a.m.] President Barack Obama has now signed into law a sweeping health care reform bill to enact the nation's most substantial social legislation in four decades and achieve a top priority of his administration.

Right before signing the bill Obama said the health care legislation is an "extraordinary achievement."

"We are not a nation that scales back its aspirations," he said. "We are not a nation that falls prey to doubt or mistrust. We don't fall prey to fear. We are not a nation that does what's easy. It's not who we are. It's not how we got here. We are a nation that faces its challenges and accepts its responsibilities."

[Updated at 11:52 a.m.] President Obama introduced the widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who championed health care reform.

"It's fitting that Ted's widow Vicki is here, and his niece, Caroline, his son, Patrick, whose vote helped make this health care reform a reality."

Patrick Kennedy is a congressman from Rhode Island.

[Updated at 11:48 a.m.] President Barack Obama said he's signing the health reform bill on behalf of several people, including his mother - "who argued with insurance companies even as she battled cancer in her final days."

[Updated at 11:46 a.m.] President Obama praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional committee chairs,  saying, "We are blessed by leaders in each chamber who not only do their jobs very well, but who never lost sight of the larger mission. They didn't play for the short term. They didn't play to the polls or the politics."

[Updated at 11:44 a.m.] President Obama said that under provisions of the health care bill that will take effect this year, small businesses will receive tax credits to help cover insurance, insurance companies won't be able to drop people's coverage when they get sick, and uninsured Americans and  parents of children with pre-existing conditions will be able to purchase coverage.

[Updated at 11:38 a.m.] President Obama, greeted by applause from enthusiastic backers of his health care reform legislation, said, "Today after almost a century of trying, today after over a year of debate, today after all the votes have been tallied, health insurance reform becomes law in the United States of America."

Obama said he "is confident" the Senate will make improvements on the health care reform bill "swiftly." He said some health care reforms will take some time to phase in, but others will "take effect right away."

[Updated at 11:36 a.m.] Vice President Joe Biden, praising President Barack Obama's leadership in forging health care reform legislation, said, "Mr.
President, you've done what generations of not just ordinary, but great men and women have attempted to do. ...  "You delivered on a promise, a promise you made to all Americans when we moved into this building," the White House.

[Updated at 11:27 a.m.] Vice President Joe Biden, introducing President Barack Obama before the health care reform bill signing, said, "this is a historic day."

[Posted at 11:23 a.m.] President Obama is set to sign a landmark health care reform bill into law at the White House on Tuesday.

The measure is a huge boost for Obama, who made health care reform a top priority.

President Obama will use 20 pens to sign the bill into law - a symbolic and customary gesture - so that he can give away the pens later as an honorary piece of history.

Now that the House has passed the Senate's health care reform bill and a package meant to reconcile differences between the House and Senate bills, the next step is for members of the Senate to sign off on those changes.

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soundoff (314 Responses)
  1. Marvin

    An absolutely historic day! Great job by Obama, Pelosi, Reid and all the rest of the Democrats who made this happen! The shame of the Republican party standing unified 100% against this legislation will go down in history as their party's death knell. This was their attempt to get rid of Obama. How can an ENTIRE PARTY , EVERY MEMBER be against such monumental legislation that is so important for ALL AMERICANS? Shame on the Republicans! They deserve to become party of HISTORY!!!

    March 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Vika

    Was about time, we are the only developed nation with debilitating health care costs for us, but huge profits for insurance and pharmaceuticals. Not to mention that health care is a right, not a privilege for the few

    March 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. donnak.

    Thank you, Mr. President, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and all who courageously took up the cause and WON in spite of all the lies and misrepresentations by the Beck, Palin, Limbauch, Boehner, McConnell crowds!!! I fail to understand how the Republicans could lead us into an unnecessary war with untold costs, can be so opposed to helping their own countrymen. Could someone explain that? And, again, THANKS!

    March 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Arthur

    Republicans had 8 years to throw trillions of taxpayers dollars in two wars, give tax breaks for the wealthiest (trillions dollars amount) so don't tell me that those same taxpayers deserve an affordable Health Care Insurance. Republicans = party of "NO"

    March 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Neal

    You are right James

    Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

    “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the Unted States.”

    This includes the health plan! We only need 3/4 of the State Legislatures to pass this to become law… AND IT IS VETO PROOF including no appeal to the Supreme Court. Let’s get this passed around, folks — Our congressmen and women have brought this upon themselves!

    If this healthcare is good enough for US it should be good enough for the members of congress and that moron in the White House.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jessica

    I am proud of my president. He has achieved more in a year than Bush has in 8. The critics are cynics and they will never be happy, even if Jesus Christ himself were president. Obama is making change happen fast. Thank you, thanks you, thank you.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Simone

    why don't people complain about being forced to get a car insurance but choose to complain about this law making it mandatory for people to take care of their health.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Maria

    Light follows Light. My the Lord Bless & Keep you in the palm of His Hand, Barak Obama.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Alex

    cheers for your victory middle class, rich class step back now!

    March 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BB

    I'm glad someone is doing something! Seems that average people have lots of expertise and strong opinions (and virtually no education in economics), but until the American people start voting with their dollars and behaving in a way that will - in aggregate - make positive change, we, like kindergarteners, need to have someone make decisions for us. If you want to see the USA get out of debt, stop purchasing things that are made outside the USA. If you want to see more efficiency in the government, look around and ask yourself what you've done to get out of the system. Do you have speeding tickets? Well, you're bogging down the courts. Do you smoke? Well, you're costing everyone else money since you are likely to cost more in healthcare for the insurance companies that insure you and me. Each of us has more control than we typically exercise. Maybe Mr. President could spend more time doing his job if you and I spent more time doing our part. I send many thanks to President Obama and look to you and me to make sure we execute it in a way that is optimal for our society. No one ever promised perfection, and it may be the best we can do to aim for continual progress. Get on the road, Mr. President, and keep educating people.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Liz

    Thank God! I am sick of insurance companies dictating healthcare in America. I will never forget when my 8 year old son needed extended hospital care (only 2 weeks) and his doctor saying "This is what he needs, and this is what the insurance will approve.............!" So guess what my son got? I am finally proud of Congress again!

    March 23, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jack

    The president has to sell this great legislation to the American people because a great many of us are stupid. Many don't realize that the money used to invade Iraq (In search of WMD that were not there) would more than cover the cost of universal health care.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Garmac

    Obama is one of the Best president the US ever had. Look at the war on terror. We got better results in 1 year that we ever did with Bush during 8 years if money spending. And Obama got the health care bill passed. I think in one year he did a brillient job. It sure will make the rich and greedy republican angry since for once they will stop getting free money in forms of tax breaks. Tax break never work... you give republicans tax break and all they do is keep their money away and do nothing for the economy. I sohuld know, I have my mother in-laws crying now because she's feeling the heat after buying too many appartments...!!! If only she would stop watching this F0x garbage... she would be a lot happier...

    March 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. M Grebs

    Change has finally come! Thank you President Obama. You had us worried there for a while.
    My sister in law exhausted her insurance when she had cancer. It bankrupted her family.
    This will never happen again to another family in the USA!
    All you nay sayers that have been listening to FOX news and getting false information. Read what really is in the bill. You may actually LIKE it.

    And for those stupid lawsuits worrying about "Constitutional Rights". Where the hell were you when the Patriot Act was passed? Wasting tax payer dollars on B.S. lawsuits in this day and age.

    Thank you again President Obama and the Democratic House and Senate.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BREN

    People voted for change and got it....good or bad, right or wrong.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
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