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. Losing our business

    Unfortunately, my husband will be losing his business. He falls into the small business trap where he’s not small enough to absorb the penalty and he’s certainly not big enough to be able to afford to provide insure for his 15 employees. As it is, I support our family on my pay check with his income varying because he ensures that he’s able to make payroll for his 15 employees. We’ll be able to absorb the penalty for the first 2 years but after that we’ll have to shut down. We’ve already begun planning for a new career for him, it’s just too bad that the President just put 15 people out of work.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. carlos

    Hopefully the other 37 states will jump on the federal suit that was just started!!

    March 23, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Penny in Alaska

    WHO are the "most people" who don't want the bill? Nobody I know. Yes, it could be better, but the longest journey begins with one step. Thanks Mr. President and Ms. Pelosi for making our country take the baby step toward health coverage for all. As to "Government controlled health care", WE the people are the government.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hemant

    thank you president obama,
    history will remember you for good job.well done besides all obstacles from republicans.country needs your vision after 8 years of Bush disaster.please stay focus for this country and go ahead with your agenda for economy,jobs,immigration.you have my vote for next term.do not worry at all for terrorist threats and war,its all a threat and created disaster by BUSH-.for rest of your term in white house please use all your energy and ability for the benefits of this country . i m sure u can deliver these all.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    How does any hard working American view THIS reform as a victory FOR the people??? What message does this send to our children???? (Be lazy and you will get ahead???) What about the education portion of this bill??? No one mentions that... And how much more will they tax us before there is nothing left to tax??? This goes beyond Socialism... It's borderline Communism – March 21, 2010 is truly a dark day in American history... Those who work hard, and have worked hard all their lives will now will have to pay for those who choose not to work hard... This bill is an attack on the "American Dream", and our government is the culprit – AMERICA! OUR GOVERNMENT HAS BETRAYED US!!

    March 23, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Maryann

    Thanks President Obama! You did what you promised, I commend you.

    And all you people complaining about higher taxes, yeah, you people who make more than $250,000 a year – I'm looking at your greedy, selfish behavior. Boo hoo – taxes are going back to what they were during the Clinton administration – you all survived just fine, didn't you?

    Quit your whining, you buncha babies!

    March 23, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. OhioDem

    I forgot to say that I find it beyond ridiculous that this was crammed down the throats of a country in which the majority of people said NO to this bill. Obama can ignore the majority all he wants, we will speak in November and take this power to "rule" away from the democrats, dems I voted for! But will not again!

    March 23, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cindy

    Let's see the spin Obama puts on this now, AFTER he signed the bill......

    March 23, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ken

    I, like everyone else that is praising this new health plan think that censoship will also be abolished by the next election.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David

    Speaking as Republican: Well done Mr. President!

    Shame on my own party for not participating in the process – shame on you radicals for distorting the truth – shame on you for lying to the American people.

    There will be no Republican representation from the North East as long as nut balls from the South and West are running the party,

    March 23, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mark

    I wish he'd hit the road. Doing about 200. High velocity impact disorder.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ken

    Tort reform would have fixed the other system.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Abnormalmind

    Massachusetts is doing something horribly wrong. Hawaii is doing something right (for like 35 years?) since their health care system is probably the best in the nation.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Losing Chances at College

    Well... With all of these taxes, im sure the state colleges will yet again raise the cost for college... Thank you government for ruining the future of the hard working American. Now not only will I not be able to attend college, but i will be forced to pay for other's healthcare. This is rediculous, this is just hurting the economy more putting us in further debt, and eliminating the chances of a future for the young in american. It makes me sick how selfish people are. There are other ways of fixing the healthcare situation, killing mine and millions of other hardworking american futures is not it.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. cytwo

    People who are uninsured and have legitimate illnesses like diabetes or arthritis or anything like that today receive treatment whether by General Hospital or walk-in in clinics, and by any means have emergency rooms for real emergencies.

    With thirty million plus on government health coverage, people are going to be seeing the 'Doc' for this pain and that pain. Taxpayers are going to be shelving billions upon billions on opiate pain killers that doctors will write prescriptions for with few questions asked.

    Healthcare reform without 2700 pages of 'Obamacare' would have been the right kind of reform. Many proposed ideas could have been implemented without the 2700 pages and healthcare reforms and costs could have been brought down.

    Democrats did not want reform. Real reform would have rendered Obamacare unnecessary. This bill is not about helping people. It is about the 16000 plus new IRS police who will be hired with new sweeping powers to enforce taxation upon the ordinary citizen.

    So many people are deceived, people are like crabs in a crab cage dining. For a little piece of something, a free check-up, an x-ray, they sell out their constitutional freedoms, their birthright.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
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