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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Filed under: Barack Obama • Congress • Health Care
soundoff (314 Responses)
  1. Lilly

    Personally I think Obama should've spent his first year on the economy, but I guess regardless of what he started with the Tea-Baggers would've had a tempter tantrum anyways. I've never seen such a group of paranoid, scaredy cats as the Republicans. They are afraid of everything. But I guess that's at the root of their philosophy – everyone and everything is trying to destroy them. There are medications for this.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Paul Hutchison

    I fail to understand how Congress and the President believe that our current health care system can support all these 33 million individuals being added to the system. I fail to understand how you take over 500 billion dollars from MediCare and expect me to believe that my health care is going to improve. Poor individuals already had insurance. Every indivudual I see utilizing an "Access" card has insurance provided to them. If an invidual has low income and needs hospital care, the hospital is required to treat them already if they receive federal dollars. I am sorry that some individuals have children that need special care, but that is not my responsibility nor the governments. Again, insurance is available for children. A 26 year old is not a child and now good old Mom and Dad will be able to keep paying for them to remain on their policy. Perhaps instead of so many believing that that they need and require a new car, boat, vacations, etc., they should be paying for the necesities of life. Why have our leaders totally ignored the failure of socialized medicine in the other industrilized nations and they believe they can make it work here. Guess that is why our friends from up North come here for treatment. And WOW, a whomping $250.00 to help cover the cost of the "doughnut hole." Let me buy into the program that Congress has and which we pay for them, their spouse, for life.
    Why do so many believe they are entitled to free benefits and have never contributed or worked toward earning it.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ken

    People who think the Teaparty has anything to do with the Republican party you are wrong.Teaparty will serve one purpose and that has already happened. it is designed to split the vote so Democrats will still be in control.Don't fall for this crock.We have one too many parties now. If there had been such a thing there would have been a lot more negative news from the left wing news networks.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. rick

    I hope he surrounds himself with a lot of secret service! Cause after what he's done the fanatics are going to come out of the woodwork!!

    March 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dave

    To all of the democrats / liberals – us conservatives agree that health care needs fixed. At issue is how your leadership went about it. No republican support & several democrats opposed it too. Pelosi & company keep comparing it to social security & civil rights; at least there was bi-partisan support on those issues.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Morris

    The President is hitting the road to let the American people know that what he has done, is for the American people. It is for the millions of Americans who lack adequate Health care coverage. The single hard working mothers, who see there premiums go up because of the creed and corruption of insurance companies. It is because of the Republican opposition and scare tactis they are telling the American people. How this will be a Govt takeover, when that is not the case at all. Yet as they believe in the status quo, millions of people are suffering without coverage. Millions of people are sick and can't get the proper medical services due to not being able to afford healthcare. So is it better to do nothig and let people continue to suffer, or do something that is not perfect but brings change to a already damaged healthcare system? You have the conservatives to worried about their own pocktes and well being, but not concerned with ordinary hard working Middle Class Americans who too workk hard, but yet struggles to have adequate health care because maybe their employer can't afford to pay them insurance, or they just dont have it.

    I support this legislation, because I know that this will help so many people. Some people just dont get it....

    March 23, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    Thank you, President Obama! All Americans are not right wing nutjobs. You have the support of the people!

    March 23, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Carolyn

    I work in an emergency room where 80% of our patients have no health insurance. The sad part of this are the people moving around trying to find work, or have just lost heir job, insurance. Our hospital prides itself in taking care of indigent people. There is almost a sense of resignation, and saddness on the part of these people; almost as if they felt bad about bothering us. Once this reform is in place, we will see less emergency room patients as they will get the care they need before their symptoms get too bad.

    I want to know who these people are, in the poll, who are against Obama? Are these people with health insurance, and a decent job, or not? How many people are polled who have not been working for more than a year? I know five people, right now, who have lost heir and health insurance...all over 55 years old.

    Let us stay in tune with the rest of the world.


    March 23, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jerome p. Tart

    We are all One, Body,and One Blood,. And You, can judge a Tree, by the Fruit , it
    bares.Think of the Lives that will be extendedby the new Health Reform,. The Joy,
    and Peace, that People, will experience even if only for a Season, Thank You Mr President.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Satan Obama

    For all of you who like what this president has done.
    One day your grand children are going to look at you and say what the hell have you democrats done to us. Why should we have to pay for this crap!!!

    March 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DK

    Mark my word;

    These Repulicans will be nothing but footnotes when the History of this era is written.

    Obama's convinction on this issue was borne out of a bitter family experience. His mother had serous issues with Health Insurance Companies while dying of cancer.

    President Obama and the Democrats are right. The Republicans are evil and wrong! I have absolute contempt for the Republican Party.


    March 23, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Susan Mathias

    KUDOS to the Democratics for having the strength and determination to do the right thing. I'm personally sick and tired of whining republicans!!

    March 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dave

    it's about time! Now we can really call ourselves a leading, industrial modern country!! All we need to do now is abolish capital punishment as to not be compared to the taliban!

    March 23, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jjrue

    Well, yesterday morning when it was announced that the bill passed, the Health Insurance company we applied to (they waited to see if the bill was going to pass) let us know they would accept our group with the pre existing conditions but with a 142% rate increase. So how are we helped? No health insurance with those rates. That is how they will deny pre existing conditions. Nothing in the bill to stop it. Disappointed.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Steve

    Steve – yes we can only hope that the public option will make its way back into the bill. It is incomplete as it stands. Watered down by the republican reps. Having worked for a major medical insurance company I know first hand how badly this bill is needed and how important the public option is to the overall success.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
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