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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soundoff (314 Responses)
  1. common sense

    To those who ask why he needs to go out and sell the Healthcare reform after signing it, because morons with no common sense have listened to other moron without any common sense scare them. THey refuse to think or read anything for themselves so they are led by fear. No he shouldn't have to go out and explain, but he wants the people to know that he has nothing to hide and to try and give them a clue.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gigm89

    Whatever happened to this President's promises on the campaign trail to not only "make the legislative process more open and transparent to the American people.. no 'backroom deals behind closed doors'" but also to "post the complete wording of any bills that are before him awaiting his signature online for access & reading by all Americans for FIVE DAYS before he would sign a bill into law"...?? The American people would like to know.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. barryg

    I find it amazing that the Republicans can raise their voices and vote NO on everything, but the President gets out there to pitch his program and the public complaints about raising his voice. What a bunch of two faced individuals out there. The Party of NO should be voted out of office for the way they conducted themselves. What plan did they come up with? Congrats to the President and all the Democrats who vote for the bill. For those old enough to remember when Medicare came into reality in 1965, everyone questioned it. Now look at it today! How short memories are!!

    March 23, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DK

    Thank you President Obama and the Democrats for your courage, wisdom and steadfastness. You did the right thing. History is on your side.

    Shame on the Republicans. The Party of NO. These were these the characters have historically stood against Social Security, Civil Rights Reform, Womens' Franchise et cetra.

    The Republican Party is morally bankrupt. Shame on you for taking fianancial contributions (AKA: bribes) from the Health Insurance leeches. Shame on you for not standing for the American people. Shame on you for advocating for the Insurance Lobby. The blood my dead, un-insured countrymen are in your hands.

    The Republican Party has no ideas. What was their contributtion to the Health Care debate? They gave us George W. Bush who squandered our surplus in an uncessary WAR.

    GOD BLESS AMERICA!

    March 23, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Vijay

    The passage of the historic 'Health' bill is an important milestone for the evolution of our country towards a becoming a caring and compassionate society. President Obama and his TEAM deserve our gratitude and ongoing support. We all know that it is not a perfect bill, so let's make it better by and by but not still talk about stalling and killing it.

    We respect our founding fathers and will be indebted to them forever. But we are in a different era, a much bigger country and an industralized society. THis is not socialism; it is just a life saving service to the downtrodden and dispoossed.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rik

    We should just make the hospitals only give services that the patient can pay for right away once the money is out they should just kick them out then people who dont want Ins will know how it feels just because you can go to ER and then not pay because someone with Ins has to pay his or her 20% .

    March 23, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Paul

    Does this really matter? No because Republicans will find a way to slow it down and block it, or they will find a way to ammend it so much that no matter what you do to fix the health care crisis it will be even worse than it already is. The only thing that is going to be constant here is that government will always screw up, and the people of this country will always suffer.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lauren

    Obama is going to hit the campaign trail again. And this is news?

    March 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    The problem is how this was done. Where was the transparency we were promised? Pretty much non-existant. Why wasn't tort reform addressed? The other thing is that I'm tired of all the handouts. I know what it is like to be unemployed and uninsured. Been there, done that. I didn't sit back and wait for someone to take care of me, I did it myself; worked 2 and 3 part time jobs until I FOUND a full time job with health care. That's right, I went out and found one. I didn't sit back and have someone else take care of me, and that is the problem with society today & this bill will continue that trend. But whatever.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rick

    What a joke! America needs 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 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Parisette

    If Republicans don't care for 31 millions of their own people, the rest of the world does care for them and appreciates your dedication, courage and perseverance. You truly deserve your Nobel prize, Mr. President Obama.
    Continuez à être le Président de toutes les nations, nous vous faisons confiance.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tom

    There is a man who arppeciates, respects and understands the US Constitution.

    Thank you Prseident Obama...keep on fighting!

    March 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jay

    I am still confused about how this is going to keep people from dying. My parents were fortunate and had extremely good healthcare, access to doctor's and were never denied any type of treatment....they both still died in their 40's. One from cancer the other a heart attack. And they were both under hospital and doctor's care when they died.
    And if this is so great, why do we have to wait 4 years for it to fully kick-in? What about the sick people, today, who have no insurance and I guess no access to care?

    March 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sue P

    Ok so slap yourselves on the back and high five for the future but explain this one to me......Why is this bill ok for everyone EXCEPT the people who voted it in. A bit hypocrtical if you ask me.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jim

    People really need to do their research. As a U.S. citizen residing in Spain I have encountered both systems. The most startling thing about the healthcare rankings by country is that they are TRUE! I have seen a doctor on several occasions in Spain, I have even been to the ER. Wait times were less than in the US, and the care was excellent. Spain´s healthcare system is by far better than the US system. Give me a break about ´socialism.´ You aren´t screaming and hollering about any of the other socialized institutions that we have in the US.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
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