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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soundoff (314 Responses)
  1. Melvin

    Way to go president Barack Obama.. You had promised this moment during your election campaign and you made it happen. All of those who worked towards passing this bill deserve appreciation. Thank you!

    March 23, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Y B.

    YOU, YOU, YOU, AND YOU, YES, YOU, at some point in your life will get very, very and will need surgery and medications...
    how about making the experience less traumatic by not having to worry about fighting with health insurances, losing your job or having to sell your home to pay for medical bills?

    This bill will hopefully get shaped into for healthcare for all!

    PEOPLE!! It does not matter if you make 120,000/year or 20,000/year, we all get sick, we all die.
    How about forgetting about politics: republicans or democrats and concentrating on HUMANITY for a change!

    March 23, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Armand

    To Diane and Axelrod,
    It was never sold to the majority, and if he wants to thank the supporters he should save money and just call them, it shouldn't take more than an hour. He just don't need Biden and his foul mouth calling anyone.

    March 23, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Randy

    I have heard people exclaim "socialism" with this bill, yet I don't think they give it a thought. It seems like whatever Rush Limburger or that other yo-yo says is what they listen to. It's reform, pure and simple. We had reforms for the banking industry and when they were deregulated, what happened? We're living in the disaster right now.

    People seem to forget that the government is supposed to "provide for the common welfare". The "common welfare", that means everyone. Health care is a part of that welfare and should be common to all, not to those who have the money.

    March 23, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Huff

    To Thankfulforhealthcare: The answer is NO! Nothing takes effect until 2014. Democrats don't want the mess this bill will cause to be felt at full force in the 2012 elections. You need to take advantage of the healthcare already available to you such as signing up for your states Health Care Cost Containment System (HCCCS) program.

    Do note that this bill includes massive costs to individual states to pay for it. Many states have said that in order to pay they will cut funds from their HCCCS program. Arizona plans to eliminate coverage for almost 250,000 people on HCCCS in order to pay for Obamacare.

    March 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Listin K.

    If you reference other developed countries' health care system, you'll see that what President Obama's gov't did is great and it will help the middle class and the poor mostly. The rich have being fighting against the reform for decades so as to maintain the monopoly.

    March 23, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Huff

    To HM: We of the GOP do care about the less fortunate despite your claims otherwise. It does not take nearly 1 trillion $'s to reduce the uninsured from 48 million to 20 million per Democrats own estimates. $1,000,000,000,000 to help only 28 million less fortunate?????

    March 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ronald

    Kevin H.
    Maybe if Obama was working on Jobs you would not be unemployed and depending on the government to provide you health care.

    What hypocrisy by Obama to say this was for the American People. It was for Politics and nothing else. It is yet another entitlement program that will bankrupt the country.

    Since when can you contribute 4 years of taxes before the benefits kick-in and think that the socialist that call themselves democrats will not spend it. Just like the lock box for Social Security! You liberals continue to drink the koolaid as it won't be you that suffers – it will be your kids. They will have to pay 60% income tax - Or my mistake they will be on the payroll for the Government.

    March 23, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Carolyn

    To Thankfulforhealthcare: Please go see a doctor and get tests done now. You may find out it is an easily fixable problem. Whatever you need to get done do it. My aunt, who is now 82, had sugery for cancer. She did pay off her bill of 60,000 dollars. Don't be scared about how high the bills are now. You need to see what is wrong. Hospitals and doctors will work with you and you CAN check with your state about free medical care. First of all, get healthy, stay calm and let me know how it turns out.

    March 23, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tammy

    Anyone who opposes this bill has to be crazy. A lot of money has been wasted for years on matters that was none of our business, we had no control over that, now our beautiful, God given, smart, On-Top-Of-His-Game president signs a bill into law, so that we may all get the medical attention and care we need, and you have a problem with this. If I was like you and didn't like this bill, I wouldn't tell nobody..(Lol). And one of you say he just signed his unemployment papers? ha ... Yall just mad that he's spending the money on the people and yall greedy MF'S won't have a penny left to blow on BS... and oh yea...You leave me no indication that you are sane, I can only conclude that you must have a reprobate mind. You need to repent and ask God to forgive you and never sin again, so you can get your mind back. Peace be with you. and oh yea Way to Go Mr. President. Oh yes ... you did that. I'm so proud of you. 10 points for us.....l, I wouldn't tell nobody..(Lol). And one of you say he just signed his unemployment papers? ha ... Yall just mad that he's spending the money on the people and yall greedy MF'S won't have a penny left to blow on BS... and oh yea...You leave me no indication that you are sane, I can only conclude that you must have a reprobate mind. You need to repent and ask God to forgive you and never sin again, so you can get your mind back. Peace be with you. and oh yea Way to Go Mr. President. Oh yes ... you did that. I'm so proud of you. 10 points for us.....

    March 23, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Huff

    To Tammy, People who are all for this bill seem to be because its to provide healthcare for those that otherwise could not. Sounds great right? Currently we have an estimated 48 million uninsured. Using Democrats own figures this bill will lower that to 20 million. So for nearly $1,000,000,000,000 we bring 28 million people under healthcare coverage. What is CRAZY is the belief that it should cost a trillion $'s to cover 28 million. I'd love to see those that can't afford healthcare to have a way to obtain it. It doesn't cost a trillion $'s of money we don't have to cover 28 million people. Not even close!!

    March 24, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. Abnormalmind

    @Huff: Ironically, some of those people have to go to the ER room for minor medical things, which forces the hospitals to write off losses, which causes them to charge various people different fees, which results in a totally broken system. HCR is no where near perfect, and yes it will be tweaked in the next four years. It's a start.

    March 24, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. Huff

    To Abnormalmind: Sorry but this bill is NOT a good start at all. The idea that anything is better than what we have is flat out wrong. People have no concept of what a trillion $'s is. It simply does not take a trillion $'s to insure 28 million people. This bill will do nothing for the 20 million still left uninsured. Your claim of ER care for those 20 million is flawed. It does not take a trillion $'s to cover all 48 million. We need reform and some help for the 48 million but this bill is not a good start. The concept that ANY bill is good no matter what it says, how much is costs, who it helps and who it doesn't is absurd.

    It will be interesting to see what the supreme court says about constitutionality on the basis that the constitution clearly states that Federal Government can't require people to buy anything. This is why SS was changed from saying it was retirement insurance to a tax. Taxes can be mandated, insurance policies cannot.

    March 24, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
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