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. Kelly

    I agree with what many people have said on here. It may not be perfect, but it is a GRAND step in the right direction. We are the wealthiest country in the world and we should be able to provide health care for everyone who lives here. Everyone deserves health care, not just the very elite of society. I support our country and our president!

    March 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JoJo

    The devil is in the details. I can wait for America to find out what we actually got. So far, we only got words and promises. Drink the coolaid folks and hope for the best...

    March 23, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dicegame

    my fellow poor rich white conservatives, the world has come to an end . We now HAVE to actuallyCARE for those that cant afford health care and dying, how UN AMERICAN. How will we feel superior now?. We will just have to vote this colored president out of the office so we dont HAVE to do the right thing, but wait there arent enough of us anymore,those poor white trash are with him because he is helping them get a free health care and we never paid attention to them 'til no Ahhh let just go drink some TEA nd it will come to us.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sigh

    Most of the people congratulating him have no idea what they are really congratulating. I think everyone will agree health care reform is needed, but this was not the way to go about it. Plus the fact that he still has to sell it to the American public is just amazing. On top of that his approval rating is now below 50%. Great job Mr. President, are you looking out for all of America or just the ones that need things given to them. I agree we should remove caps and pre-existing conditions, but sorry health care is not a right and should not be forced upon the American people. Welcome to the USSA, your family will be issued health care or shot.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Christopher

    To everyone complaining about Obama continuing to campaign for Healthcare...I ask you this:

    When will the Republicans/conservatives stop campaigning AGAINST Healthcare?

    March 23, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Guest042

    If this healthcare bill was so critical to help people get insurance, how come none of the exchanges, requirements for people to have insurance or tax increases go into place until after the 2012 election?

    March 23, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Spencer in Oakland CA

    This is HILARIOUS!!

    All these comments about "government run HC" are proof that people don't actually know what's in this bil. There's no "single payer" and no "public option", and therefore no "Govt Run Health Care". Anyone who thinks otherwise is uneducated and misinformed on this subject. CNN can take some of the blame for this with their shoddy reporting.

    The only govt involvement comes in the form of the mandate to buy insurance, which increases the size of the overall pool thus lessening costs for the average American family, as well as tax incentives for small business and subsidies for the poorest Americans.

    Still a private insurance based system, just a better regulated one that will work better for actual Americans rather than insurance company bigwigs.

    Again, sorry to burst that misinformed Tea Bagger bubble! Its what we intelligent Americans call common sense!

    March 23, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ramses

    Fantastic, unbelievable, electrifying. At last, at last God Almighty has mercy on poor, middle class, deserving people. Three cheers to the President Obama & the team of Democrats who made it possible.
    Republicans, Cry baby cry. Misery loves company. You have 220R's+ 35D's.
    Democrats will come swinging in the Mid term. Republicans deserve to lose.
    God Bless America.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    I pray this works even though I did not support this bill, the system needs a fix this may or may not be it, time will tell. The only thing that erks me is that the goverment will GIVE you health insurance, whatever happen to EARNED NEVER GIVEN. I have worked hard to get were I am fully funding my college, now people like me are asked to give more, if we want goverment to do everything for us SEE GREECE that is us if we do not wake up and be accountable

    March 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ken

    No liberal party dies as long as it keeps giving.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tim ryan

    The Dems will regulate the Insurance Companies and the Insurance Companies will have to raise rates, Dems will say look at those bad Insurance Companies gouging innocent Americans, Then the Dems will get the Public Option and all Insurance Companies will be history.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PJparker

    I hear a lot of Republicans talking about how health care reform will add to the deficit, but I have not heard how the Republicans would reduce the deficit. Anyone got any info on that?

    March 23, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Epson Pillar

    Change is difficult. The insolvency of social security and medicare are not easy challenges. No solution proposed by either party is going to be "perfect;" however, the country has to make a step to head toward a future direction not status quo.

    As we prepare for what has been touted as the next Senate warfare – can we as Americans agree that all Senators are working not for blue or red, but working for the solvency of the future of America. Before President Obama the future generations had a mortgage of their future income. After President Obama there will be costs to all of us and those behind us. No Senator, No Congressman, no citizen can stop and do nothing and wonder why nothing is changed. I agreed with the President attempting to work with the Congressional leadership. I was saddened that more cooperation did not materialize. As a nation there are big problems that need everyone to work together to move our country forward. Hatred and divisiveness won't support the next generation any more the debt, unemployment or disunity. Let's start acting like the "United" States of America again.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ken

    You did not see any politician offering to trade their health care plan in on this manna from heaven.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. OhioDem

    Voted for deeply regretful and will not vote for him again.
    Its unconstitutional to mandate health insurace, and its very unconstitutional to tax my husbands employer provided insurance as income to subsidize coverage for others.

    I hope the courts strike this down, tie this up, whatever it takes! I never realized the full consequences of big government until now. We cannot sustain spending like this, life is not free! You cant give everything away and still pay the bills people! I'll be D****D if Im going to let this "administration redistribute the wealth". I dont know the Democratic party anymore, its way out of control. It doesnt take a genius to see that the numbers dont add up and this country is in serious financial trouble, trouble that this bill will only exacerbate. I worry for my childrens future and how this country will look to them.

    My husband and myself do not work hard to pay for someone elses lives, I am charitable and dont need to be forced to give and WONT be!

    March 23, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
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