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. SJB

    GREAT day for the U.S. And yes, let's work now for a Public Option and vote the do-nothing republicans OUT in November!

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

    We do not have a health care issue problem, as describe by the Dems, as much as we have a cultural problem. I am all for helping those in absolute need, but are 32 Million really in absolute need for HC? How many of these HC needy people are buying non-essential items instead of items of necessity? How many of them have chosen non-essential items like Flat Screen TV’s, have cable access in every room, have both cell phones and landlines, and or spend a small fortune for their nails and hair instead of buying more important items LIKE HEALTH CARE.

    What we really need to be asking is why our politicians and government employees are still getting a ridiculous free perks at the expense of us hardworking taxpayer. Many companies have done away with pensions, and yet these folks still get huge pensions while contributing little to the fund. They get these huge pension payouts, they get to keep their annual salary even after leaving office, and that happens only because us hard working Americans pay for it through our taxes. ENOUGH !!! They need to start paying for their health care and pensions and STOP CHARGING US. They are the truly greedy!!!!

    March 23, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. margaret waterman

    Today was an historic day indeed. I am so very proud of our President and his Administration. They did not waiver and they did what was right by America. I hope the majority of Americans realize this by the November election and that only the bad weeds are pulled out of this congress. My prayer is that we do not return to the politics of lies and deceit as we suffered under the former administration and that we learn to ignore and detest the naysayers, for they do not have our best interests in mind. They are wolves in sheeps clothing!

    March 23, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sandi

    All Americans deserve the right to healhcare no just the rich Republicans. they are just afraid the insurance companies they own wont make as much money. good job Obama

    March 23, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Not Scott

    I've read it. I'm not sure how you could have if you seriously continue to believe everything FOX News tells you. And we're not blasting the people in Congress. Everyone knows they're corrupt enough to get their way out of anything. We're blasting those who feel they're too good (see: greedy) for Democrats' taxes in support of a good cause, but have no problem taxing us in support of a baseless war, themselves.

    March 23, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jimbo

    Congratulations from Socialist Canada. We have had Universal Health care since 1965. We are bad news country up here according to your cookoo GOP party. We sure like our health care as does every other country that does not have a total disinterest in the welfare of all of its people. Let see now that is 45 years and we have been getting better every year including or economy. Sorry about not helping in Iraq but we would not fall for the Bush/Cheny ruse.

    March 23, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lewis

    CONGRATULATIONS for my neighbors to the south! You finally did what you ought to have done – so many years ago! It's a 'newly arrived baby' – a bit inconvenient at first, but the longer you have it, the more you will grow to love it.

    March 23, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. opAZ


    this is only part of the whole reform thing.

    president obama should go after the pharmaceutical companies next that are over charging the price of drugs compared to the neighboring countries. how is it possible that americans r paying inflated prices for similar drugs that are only charged a fraction in mexico and canada and also some countries in europe?


    March 23, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Wen

    This is awful. What happened? Who does Obama work for? Not the people of this country for sure! NO ONE WANTS THIS! Why is this happening?

    March 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Arvin

    The time to fool the people to vote against their own interest is over. The money spent by the insurance companies 1 million per congressman, has gone down the drain and Rush Limbaugh must leave the country as he had promised and Glen Beck must stop being paid for mouthing divisive nonsense. I guess you cannot fool all the people all the time.

    March 23, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tim

    Did anyone see what the reconciliation bill does to college loans? This is a huge power grab for the federal government. They will be in charge of funding your health and your education – Do you really want Washington to run your life?

    March 23, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. SenseiAlan

    Fellow United States of Socialist America citizens...Join me in November when we vote every one of them out!

    March 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. NebraskaMom

    Thank you for starting the long overdue reform to our nations health care industry. Thank you for caring about the country and it's people!!

    March 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Me

    Fear has been put into the hearts of an already scared america. By these Rep. and consevatives. They even had me beliving we would fall into a third world like nation. But this is America! This country will never fall. If it did, a health care bill would not contribute. Our streghnth lies in our military. As long as we have that we will always be a super power. You people who think this bill is terrible are the same ones who voted for Obama. You hear a some bullshit from the Right and you change your minds.

    March 23, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. cardog

    For those of you the support this bill's passage and now becoming law, remember that it is up to us to prove the other side wrong regarding the threats they have made to vote all Democrats out of office in November 2010.
    Somehow they have made themselves the majority, when the fact is it was the majority that elected President Obama and the Democratic Congress. With that said, it will take the involvement of the same people, be they white, black, hispanic, asian turn out and give continued support to our elected officials that truely care about the American people.

    The Republicans for over a year now have done nothing but obstruct anythinh and everything this President has tried to do. They have become involved with the Tea Party group that is simply a cover for the people who preach "WE NEED TO TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK". Some day real soon someone is going to have to tell me who took OUR country?

    March 23, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
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