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. Steve

    Don't kid yourself, by November, through reconciliation, the public option will be back in.

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

    You folks for the bill are apparently uneducated about the fundamental rights contained in our Constitution. Our government has no right to force its citizens to buy anything much less penalize us for not doing so. The fact that this makes us just like those 'other civilized' countries instead of an intelligent free thinking one is demoralizing. No one is against reform or change if it is the right reform or change, and no one expects perfection. We do, however, expect a reasonable level of common sense to be applied. If you think this will suddently make everyone healthy – you just wait. Does a marriage license stop philandering??? If car insurance is mandatory for all, why am I payaing for 'uninsured' coverage? I prefer to spend my meager dollars the best way I see fit. Charity is for helping others. And serving citizens as a politician should be a $1 year payable position. I am not a Dem. I am not a Rep. But I do want my checks and balances national administration to be enforced. Bush may have done wrong things, but he did them for the right reason. This a**O does all the wrong things for the wtong reasons. With change like this, the good ole USA will be a goner before you know it.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brooklyn

    God bless you, Mr. President. I live in an area that is rife with right-wing, Tea Party loonies. I have excellent healthcare through my employer, but recognize that everyone is not so lucky. It is heartening to read the positive comments here on CNN after reading the Fox-fueled rantings at my local newspaper's site. Finally...FINALLY...a President who says he cares about the people and proves it.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. R Jones

    Congratulations to President Obama. I have voted Republican in most of the elections in my voting life. However, I switched in 2008 because Obama inspired my children and had a message of reconciliation. I am now ashamed that I helped elect some of the Republican's that have stood so steadfastly against any change or any reform. To those who say Obama and the Democrats are doing this against the will of the people, I would ask them where they were in 2008. Obama and the Democrats won on a message of change – in particular about healthcare. This is the will of the American people (although perhaps not all tea drinkers). To those who say that it was partisan politics, I ask whose fault is that. The President tried to have a bipartisan consensus. He reached out his hand. He gave Republican's an opportunity to have a say. They spurned him and voted purely on party lines. There wasn't one Republican that was willing to stand up to the might of the RL/GB orthodoxy and negotiate in good faith with the Democratic majority to deliver some improvement in an elitist healthcare system that does not provide quality care for all citizens. This bill is not perfect. It is full of compromises and second bests. However, for the first time in generations, there is a significant improvement in the quality of care for millions of Americans. At least I can be proud of my most recent vote!

    March 23, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Scott

    2 quick points:

    1.) Who of you that claim to know this bill so well have actually read it? I doubt most of Congress has been able to read it and truly understand it.

    2.) You continually blast the "rich republicans" and assume that the democrats on Capitol Hill are some kind of welfare case. They went to Ivy League schools, were part of big law firms, please, don't present your case as if the Democrats are poor. They're in power partly because of their money.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. hemant

    hi ,republicans,
    u all have shown how lost you all in dealing current situation,its time for you all to get to the facts that you are looser.biggest threats since 8 years of disaster mess created BY BUSH in the name of war ,war and war. no control over bank,trade loss,job loss in his last two years. u all are collectively horrible and disaster in getting any good ,constructive work for us citizens.shame on your failed leadership to contribute any positives towards health care bill .

    March 23, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 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.
    Keep being the President of all nations. We trust you.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jen

    The Federal Gov't should take a seat and let those who can make an impact get involved. This is such a fake illusion with this so called "money". Think about it, especially if you are good with math...just think about it and then you realize that it is physically impossible, not for the .S to get out of Debt, but for money to ever exist or to have existed. I think the govt is either embarrassed or the Illuminati is still control of it all. let's hope the new 200,000 Reported planets looking at us can jump in and help out...And yes, don't laugh. Read about it. Read about the 1000's of gov't employees who are the ones who began to open up. Disclosure is the sart of the New Paradigm. Miracles will begin.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nicholas Perino

    Hooray for this country and hooray for Obama!
    We witnessed today a turning point and a great triumph in the tenure of a great President.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. coloradoagainstwaste

    I see so many comments on the party of no,funny stuff .no to the way this law is written and its added prok to sell votes at least some sane voices are saying no.Not to reform but to how many bad portions are included.All you who think this is Christmas may soon find that Santa is a myth and those gifts require actual money be paid for them.I plan on dumping my helath care as soon as possible and let the rest of you pay my way, fine me and try to re coup the prices would be even better thus spending even more money wastefully till the whole house of cards collapses

    March 23, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. barakk

    for the republicans who try to stop this bill, you are only making yourself look worse for it means you don't care the people who need it, but only those insurance companies who will profit your filibustering.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ken

    Social security was sold to you and you were promised it would be completely voluntary. You were also told that your number would not, under any circumstance, be used for any purpose but your personal identification number for Social Security purposes. You were also told that the money would absolutly not be used for any purpose but Social Security payments. You were also told that payments would start down the road after the fund grew. You were not required under threat of fines that you had to comply. Try to do anything now without giving the number now like opening a savings account. You don't have to give it but the bank does not have to open you an account either. We, who were prodded and dressed up and made to go to church when fishing would have been more palatable, were told by the fire and brimstone preacher we would all have a number.Guess he was right.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. J. B. C.

    It continues to amaze me that the American public is really so unaware of the facts when it comes to the issues that shape our lives. So many take everything as hard core proven fact when reported by the media which is really nothing more than the views of the most attention seeking politicians they choose to cover. Americans who don't have clue as to what the Healthcare Reform legislation truly means have no problem regurgitating what they hear spouted from the latest "rant" from the GOP leaders and muckrakers as their “considered opinion”. Read the facts of the plan – it will help far more people than it could possibly hurt. If you were really so concerned about the monetary impact and the deficit, why not insist we stop wasting the money we’ve spent on the war for the last 8 years? It seems far more appropriate to spend it providing some healthcare coverage to our citizens who can’t afford it. The GOP is just so burned to see real reform finally coming to fruition they just can’t stand it and they will do and say anything to spin it in a negative light. Gee, maybe they are also afraid that the gravy train from the insurance lobby may actually have to come to an end as well. If we left it to them it would be another 100+ years of the same old empty and phony whining and complaining that “we need Healthcare reform but it has to be the ‘right’ reform”, without even one move in that direction. If you don't like what was just passed then work together to make it better – simply saying "it won't work" should not cut it with the American people. If it won't work – FIX IT – that does not mean scrap it and start over. President Obama got elected because we'd had enough of the ineptitude of the last 8 years – he ran on a platform of Change, and he's delivering. It's been a long time since we've had that happen so I can see why so many seem surprised. He's doing what he said he'd do – what happened America, did you forget what you voted for? Did you ever really know in the first place or did you just got lucky for a change ? Couldn’t we get used to electing candidates that actually deliver on their promises instead of sidestepping every issue after the election to get ready to run again. Mr. Boehner – this Healthcare Bill is exactly what I was looking for so don't tell me that this is not what the American people want – be truthful – it's not what YOU want!

    March 23, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. A Humanist

    If you have health insurance for you and your family and are submitting negative comments, please terminate your health insurance and then resubmit any comments. Is it perfect no and it never will be. But being negative and just going with no when Americans are dying who don't need to is inhumane.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. cindy

    A job well done Mr. President and I hope the American people will get behind you and support what you are trying to get done and stop being so blind sided by the GOP. It is not a perfect law but one thing for sure it is good law. To all those who refuse to accept this plan I hope and pray that you have sufficient health insurance and won't lose your job. If you do find yourself in a situation like that then the new law is for you and others like you.

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