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. Sandy Coury

    Thank you Mr. President, Congress and the American people for getting the job done!

    March 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rodney

    Change is difficult as observed by the many quotes so far, but necessary. People will adjust, as they always have. i must admit though with all that is going on in the world i'm a bit disappointed by the focus on the "expected cost" of helping all americans live a decent life. i chalk it up to greed and ignorance. looks like a lot of your viewers should got off the computer and back to work.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tony

    Instead of “spending” a trillion $ how about “investing” a portion of it to create more doctors? A trillion $ equates to cost of creating around 1 million new doctors. Wouldn’t that be an investment in the future? More doctors = lower costs = lower insurance premiums = more access for everyone. Isn’t that the goal? Perhaps the new doctors could even pay back a portion of the money the government spent on their education. Unfortunately the future is defined in politics as between now and the next election.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lloyd

    There is a lot of misinformation about what is bad for us. And it is painful to see the hypocrisy in all the criticism. The Bill is not perfect – and never will be. In fact no Bill is perfect. After 8 years of spiraling downwards we have to inch ourselves back. The people who tout the "government run..." mantra will not take their kids out of public school or give up their medicare benefits – government run. It is like the governors of states that publicly refused the stimulus package quietly demanded the same funds for their states' projects or to protect against unemployment. This is not about capitalism against socialism or the rich against the poor, but about what is pragmatic for a nation so large and diverse in its needs. Sometimes these needs are exploited for political gain – and one thing is clear here, if we have to believe all the pundits and the nay sayers who predicted doom for the Democrats, voting for this Bill was certainly not for political gain. That in itself shows the moral grit of the effort, which needs to be respected. I am an employer and a policy maker in the medical industry and I wanted more than what the Bill offers, but I will take this for a start and hope for further improvements along the way. I am a capitalist who believes strongly in the overall approach to changing health care policy in this country.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. collin

    The state can mandate people to get homeowners and car insurance, Why do they have a problem with the federal government mandating people to have health insurance? The reason for people having these insurance is to drive down cost for the government. When an uninsured person gets admitted into the hospital and care is provided, who gets the bill? The government. Lets say that this person has an extended stay due to a diabetic emergency, this can cost tax payers over $100k dollars. with insurance this persons illness might have been prevented due to preventative care medicine through their insurance carrier. Otherwise, the insurance company gets the bill and not our taxpayers.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JAK

    Has anyone stopped tho think why insurance companies refused insurance to people with preexisting conitions? Or why they increased premiums when helath care costs increased? I agree that they overcharged and made highly questionable profits but what are we going to do to them with this new law? We are forcing them to take on people with preexisting problems and to insure the people who are lowest on the economic rung. Low income usually means little or no health care and chronic diseases. This all adds up to much higher costs and reduced revenues. Why would a health insurance company stay in the health underwriting business while their revenues are drasticaly decreased. You all can clap your hands with glee that you are going to get more for less in health care but somone has to pay the bill. I don't think the other shoe has hit the floor yet on this issue.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. laura

    If this bill is so wonderful why are the very same politicians responsiable for creating it it ...EXEMPT from it???

    If this is so wonderful why oh why does he need to go on the road to convince us..

    March 23, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. steven

    Dear president Obama, people will remember you; history will remember you, generation after generation.
    I didn’t vote you in 2008; at that time I suspected the changes you promised. However, I will definitely vote you in 2012, in order to defend the changes you bring to American people! Now I am really feeling U.S.A. is the number one country in the world.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Roberta E. Charles

    I'm amazed at how many folks are fogetting that abortion is LEGAL in this country. Would they rather that the child grew up unwanted, abused, uneducated & finally incarcerated for murder or perhaps murdered? What a life!

    March 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Julie

    Simone,
    Thats a good point, both car and health insurance are actually for one's own good, why dont people get that simple fact? I think its normal for people to resist change, soon when our President has done some more education on the road, people will realize things are not as bad. If he sat back and didnt hit the road, he would still be blamed for not coming out to answer questions. Since he is sure of the facts, he is willing to come out and help those that are struggling to understand it all. I shudder when I read the comments here by Americans towards fellow Americans, readers from other countries are watching in disbelief, at how mean and uninformed and divided and....... our society can get...

    March 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Eric

    I just want to express my gratitude and support for President Obama for getting something accomplished in what is probably the most difficult legislative environment a president has ever faced. This bill is not perfect but it heads in the right direction. The reason that the majority of the American people are against the bill is due to good marketing by the opponents, mainly focusing on the size of the bill (2500 pages? That can't be good! Who could understand it?) But when you ask people about the specific provisions of the bill the majority of people support it.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Karen Pszczolkowski

    Well it is signed. Now our grandchildrens great-grandchildren will still be paying for it. Illegals from all through the country will get our health care and us hard working people who do not apply or take government assistance will pay for it.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Darryl

    For those of you asking why is the President on the road to continue to talk about this Health care bill it's because the opponents keep attacking it. Why do the opponents keep talking about a Bill that is now LAW and there is still the reconcilation part that must be dealt with in the Senate. He needs to stay on the offensive until the process is complete otherwise the mis-direction of information could leads us down the road to nowhere. YEA to Lloyd. Good comment

    March 23, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Glen

    The Republicans could have taken care of this issue but FAILED to take any action. Now all of a sudden they have an answer? They should have taken action when they had the chance but instead they have CHOSE to take care of themselves and their Big Business friends.
    Don't be fooled by the REPUBLICAN banter. If they really wanted to help Americans they would have done so when they had control of Congress and control of the Executive department.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rick

    What a joke! America need jobs and a fiscally responsible leader. Instead we have a guy who never stops campaigning, apologizing or bowing. I though Bush was bad but Obama is very quickly becoming his equal in being a danger to our individual rights and sheer worthlessness.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
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