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.

See our complete health care coverage

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Congress • Health Care
soundoff (314 Responses)
  1. Knowbetter than you all

    There goes the country a little at a time. first socialism, what's next?

    March 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alexa Felix

    Obama has to go on the road because the right wing, including fox news, radio pundits who care more about their party than the people, uninformed tea party thugs have been vocally admonishing this bill in the media for the past year. What is even more outrageous is that none of them, yes none of them had a better idea. Their idea was to simply kill this and start if that would magically transform a year's worth of hard work into a miracle health cure.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kerosene

    Rush Limbaugh vowed to move to Costa Rica if this reform bill passed. I just want to know if anyone out there wants to offer to help him pack his bags?

    March 23, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Harry

    I hear some states say it's unlawfull, what about home, car, boat..Insurance? Have to have them.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Texas Dolamite

    Great to see a president deliver on a campaign promise despite the many obstacles cast along the way....great job to Obama and those in Congress courageous enough to change the status quo to help improve health care access for fellow Americans.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chip

    Jane, you nailed it! Unfortunately, too many people have formed opinions about this issue as a result of right-wing fear mongering and just a general bias toward anything promoted by President Obama rather than investigating the specifics of the bill. Is it perfect? No. But it's a great improvement from the utterly broken system that's currently in place.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Voice of Reason

    A little history lesson here. What Ohio Senator voted FOR the most expensive expansion of government run health care in over 35 years? (hint: 2003)

    None other than Mr. John Boehner of Ohio.

    Yes, Mr. Suntan voted for Medicare Part D, the largest expansion of Medicare in 38 years, a bill with a ten year cost of.....wait for it...over $700 Billion Dollars. So he was for government-run health care before he was against it?

    March 23, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. victor

    Good job Democrats. There's nothing to fear of the Republicans except fear itself. Let them keep saying "NO" to themselves and let them keep playing with themselves.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LPLT

    Alex, take $95 out of your $120,000 salary and pay the fine and be done with it. You don't have to have insurance if you don't want it. You might want to keep your fingers crossed that nothing catastrophic ever happens to you. Hospitals aren't accepting as many charity cases as they used to and probably will take ever fewer in the future.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Randy

    Good job and thank you Mr. President!

    March 23, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JDA

    Love Obama, or not so much, this guy has guts.

    He took on a huge, entrenched, obscenely wealthy corporate establishment, who has the entire Republican party it's hip pocket, and he won. I still don't believe it. I'm dreaming, right ?

    To paraphrase the bard, "This then is a president, when comes such another?"


    March 23, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dave

    I believe that most Americans can agree that reform is / was long overdue. There are some good things in this such as covering pre-existing conditions. However, what does student loans have to do with health care? That was slipped in there, as were other non-health care related items. Those should be treated seperately. How is this going to be paid for? By cutting waste & fraud in the existing medicare program? If that's so, then it should already have been done. Tort reform & allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines needed to be addressed and was not. Too much back door dealing. This is the wrong bill for the right reason.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Clayton

    It's about time someone stood up for the middle, or WORKING class, instead of trying to pay off their rich friends. What do you do when you're running a struggling company? You strengthen the core of the company. By investing in the American worker, Obama ensures that the country's recovery is built on a solid, healthy working class.

    As for the meatheads still yelling about "the first steps to socialism" and crying about your liberty being taken away, seriously, please return to reality. You've been getting "OMG Socialist" police coverage, fire coverage, military, roads, postal service coverage, etc for decades now.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pat

    Republican got what they didn't count on. They thought if they said No and remained in the No era, it would kill the bill. Instead what they got was to again not help in making Health Care even better. We should just get rid of republicans. They don't help anyway! For them it was All or Nothing and they did NOTHING!!!!

    March 23, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John Seville

    We should be a 21st century nation; just like the European countries and even a couple of latin american countries where all individuals have access to health security. This is a milestone that will pay out to the whole country and our future.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
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