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. Pro Bono Publico

    Thank you, Mr President from someone, who despite having health insurance, had to borrow $5000 to pay uncovered costs. Our health insurance MUST change in favor of those who need it and not to benefit those who profit from it.

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

    Hmmm.....I wonder why the bill does nothing regarding medical lawsuits. Do any of you have any idea how much money is squandered through the health care system because of lawyers. Ask your illustrious John Edwards how he got so filthy rich...could it be by suing doctors for no good reason. Guess what happens then! Their medical malpractice goes sky high and then guess who ultimately pays for it. Come on people...open your eyes!! This health care bill is nothing but smoke and mirrors. Lawyers will continue to get rich...your health care costs will rise and the quality of health care will continue to diminish!! Just ask the doctors in Canada....ever wait 8 months for an MRI or a CAT scan while the tumor continues to grow!!

    March 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ccm91

    My wife was denied health insurance due to a pre existing condition. she had a tumor on her thumb. That's right, on her thumb.

    This bill is not a hand out, and it is not socialism. On the contrary, it gives the insurance companies 30 milliion new customers. What people do not understand is it would cost our country more if we leave the status quo. Who do you think currently pays for the uninsured to go to the emergency room?? We do.

    The other notion that big brother will get between you and your doctor is nuts. Who do you think makes decisions about your health right now? Your doctor can recommend a procedure but in the end, it is an insurance bean counter that decides what kind of coverage you get.

    This bill is:

    1. Deficite neutral.

    2. Will reduce our debt over time.

    3. Is paid for, by the same people who enjoyed massive tax cuts under the last administration.

    I do not understand why people hate it so much. If anything, having a healthy, robust population is a matter of national security and our economy. Think of all the private sector jobs this will create in the healthcare industry.

    March 23, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Huff

    Why do so many think that the rich must be Republican? The wealthiest 5 in congress are all Democrats. The poorest 5 are Republicans. Democrats don't own or manage large corporations?

    Republicans have trouble with this bill because it costs nearly 1 trillion $'s to reduce the number of uninsured from 48 million to 20 million. 1 tillion $'s to insure 28 million people?????????? Why do those with decent insurance have to give theirs up for what government tells them they need?

    Willl Obama, Pelosi and company give up their cadillac health care like they are telling us all we must...well, except for unions who are exempted by a bill thats anything but equall to all?

    March 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sniper

    Does it bohter anyone that most Americans don't want this bill??? I am not saying that I am for it or against it. Just wondering.

    March 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Diane

    He's not "hitting the road to sell" anything. As David Axelrod said this morning, he wants to thank people for supporting it. It's already sold!

    March 23, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. unemployed

    I do not want this . I can not pay for it. I will not pay for it. I will move to another country now. When the right people get elected in office and this can be revoked in 2.4years, then maybe I will return.

    This is the last great act of an oppressive democrat majority. FORCE US TO PAY. Ya, That is freedom as defined by IRAN and North Korea.

    Off now to find a home sales specialist.. Maybe this will now provide more jobs. People moving, needing vans, and realtors....

    WHAT A COUNTRY~!

    March 23, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brad

    This is the worst Bill in American Hisorty!!!
    We just gave our freedoms to the Government – I can't believe we have government controled healthcare and they are going to tell us want to do. Big Government is not what this country is all about. WE WANT FREEDOM and CHOICE. We do not need government to come between us and our doctors. This bill will raise Taxes, Insuance companies will go out of business, more doctors will retire and less americans will go to medical school, and today we have become a socialist nation.

    March 23, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. PA Citizen

    I agree that "Something" needed to be done about healthcare. Allow people with pre-existing conditions, remove rate caps, deregulate to create competition etc. FORCING health reform is not the way to go about solving the problem. This bill will fix nothing and the Democratic Congress and President Obama will realize that in November.
    Unemployment, Federal Deficit, Immigration, Social Security. These are problems that need soultions.

    As far as Lewis 222's comments, Didn't I just read that the Newfoundland and Labrador Premier, Danny Williams flew to Florida for heart surgery. If the Canadian healthcare system is so greate, why would he need to go to Florida? Speaks volumes about government regulated healthcare in Canada. Congratulations? how about Condolences.

    March 23, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Carolyn

    To Alex who makes 120,000 dollars a year: I sure hope you do not get any major diseases.Good luck on that. I work in the medical field and see healthy people go in for open heart surgeries (100,000 dollars for the surgery), have kidney disease, get pancreatic cancer, or other kinds of cancer.

    I see people who exercise and eat right who get heart disease and cancer.

    Many diseases happen to otherwise healthy people, just like accidents happen to good drivers. THAT IS WHY THEY CARRY INSURANCE. I also have uninsured driver insurance, and have had it for years. Big deal. I've never needed it, but I am glad I have it.

    March 23, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Thankfulforhealthcare

    Ok. I am a 24 year old male that was laid off from work roughly 4 months ago. I have no health insurance, and no parents that are willing to pay the extra money necessary to carry me on their plans until I am 26. Right now, I have a pain in my right side (liver area)
    I have been trying to self diagnose myself for the past few weeks, but all I am managing to do is scare myself.
    I need to see a doctor, but I already have outstanding bills with hospitals due to a not having insurance and having to visit them in the past ( and the bills are seriously ridiculous.)
    What do I need to do now? The bill was signed into law, so does this afford me healthcare until I can find a job that provides coverage? A response will be most appreciated. I'm really in alot of pain, and I don't want to have to file bankruptcy in order to be cared for (which I am really close to doing thanks to $10,000 in hospital bills that I can't make payments on at the moment.)

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

    Congratulation to all Americans. It is about time that the richest, brightest and maybe the best educated country in the world had universal health care. How can such a country of over 300 million people refuse to have affordable health care for 32 million of its poorest and weakest?

    The reform signed today may not solve all the problems in one stroke but it is a huge step forward towards a better America.

    Now we will see if the death panels, the socialism and the other scare tactics visualized by the GOP actually materializes.

    March 23, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. HM

    Thank you Mr. President. You do us proud - even with the right wing nuts try and smear you - you have such grace and eloquence. I am proud to be an American.. and yes, I am ok with paying higher taxes to support this. Unlike the GOP, America should care for the less fortunate. You never know when the shoe will be on the other foot. God Bless you Mr. President. You and the democrats will get both my vote and monetary support in Nov. and beyond. Thank you for standing up to the GOP lies and smears. YES WE DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 23, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Armand

    This administration will draw laughter from the world

    March 23, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. opAZ

    "Does it bohter anyone that most Americans don't want this bill??? I am not saying that I am for it or against it. Just wondering.
    Posted by: Sniper"

    Does your most Americans include the 30 million uninsured ones too???

    March 23, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
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