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. Chris

    There is no need to campaing anymore, Mr Presdient, you got your lhealthcare law. Why dont you focus on our economy or the education system like you said you would in the SOTU speech in January.

    You are not a leader, you are a campaigning bully.

    How many bribes do you have left in your pocket for the rest of your agenda? We shall see come November.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dumbacrats

    So, after most people said they don't want this, he signs the bill then he goes to promote it? What a joke.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Greg

    This bill isn't exactly what I, or anyone probably thought of as the ideal one. However, it is a great step in the right direction. I appreciate the effort by the president and the congress to finally get this done. It took an enormous effort and even more guts. I hope the rest of the American people wake up from all the fear and hate retoric and appreciate what a great benefit these changes will bring for all of us in the long run.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RAM

    Welcome to McDonalds healthcare!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Liz

    Yes, Joe, because the way to move America forward into the future is to perpetuate the Right vs. Left bs that has torn our country in half. CLEARLY that's the intelligent thing to do – never mind what is best for the country; we need only concern ourselves with what's best for our political party.

    Your comment represents everything that's wrong with American politics today.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jason

    This is a great day! Now my 8-year old daughter who has had open heart surgery and may need more after my Cobra is up can get health insurance like the rest of us!! Thank you Mr. President!!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Paul

    Thanks for the tax increase. Actually, I'm going to quit my second job so I don't hit the ridiculously low threshold for AMT. It's funny how if I make more money I become part of the "select group of high earners" that shoulders the additional burden, just for the honor of taking less home. You said "This is what change looks like," and I ask you, please, change back.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jeremiah

    Republican party is officially dead. Congrats Obama. 4 more years after 2012. 4 more years!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Saurus

    inb4 the sarcastic comments of "wow, now I can pay for something else I won't use!" etc

    March 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ralph

    He appears to be very proud of what he's accomplished.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ted

    Good thing that those republican servants of the "patriotic" taxpayer aren't wasting taxpayer resources on all those wonderful lawsuits eh?

    March 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rockie

    Now, why Republican always say no in anything? They don't want people to have health insurance, Also in November they are going back to ask them to vote for them while they got chance they don't want to support anything. I think hey like to waste time in the Congress & The house. Also they never find solution in anything than promotes hates among Americans. Plus, the current President is black they are like why him and not white. Please Republican stop wasting time in serious issue, stop creating problem, you are the party of drama, and you forgot all the unemployment comes from the Bush Administration. I mean previous Administration. Let other try to clear your mess. And stop that crap especialy Bachman, Bohner, McCain a.k.a double face and Palin miss out of touch.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Damian

    Thank You President Obama for your continous fight!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lilly's

    great job ! heath care for everyone – this might help people like me and my wife's son – get better care [ disabled in a power chair – there sure needs to be help .
    anykind of health care is better than NO HEALTH CARE ! please poeple believe in america – not what side of goverment you are for . we all need LIFE . thanks prisdent .

    March 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TheSeedPlanter

    Thankful for a visionary President who looks after the needs of the common man and not just the wealthy!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
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