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. Heather

    I live in Massachussetts, we already have a law virtually identical this new law.

    I found it odd, that after about 3 years of having our universal health care, our elected leaders told us we needed ObamaCare to solve our health care problems.

    I do not see how Obama style health care reform is needed to save us from Obama style health care reform!

    The massachussetts plan, pretty much identical to the Obama plan, is so much over the predicted cost that we now need $500 million in federal dollars to bail us out!

    So, welcome to the United States of Massachussetts!

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

    This is a win for the American consumer and taxpayer. Finally, some common sense toward solving the problems plaguing our health care system. It's a reasonable start. Thank you President Obama for your courageous and effective leadership on this issue.

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

    Well done Mr. President. Finally someone has done SOMETHING about our health care crisis. Its not the bill I was hoping for, but its better than nothing. And make no mistake, the Republican alternative was, and still is NOTHING.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Spencer in Oakland CA

    Why does he need to "hit the road t sell it to the American people?"

    Too Easy! Because Republicans and Tea Baggers have about 40% of the country thinking this bill is gonna kill grandma and America as a whole.

    And just so all you on the right dont get CNNs poll reporting twisted, many of those that supposedly "are against this bill" are left wingers that dont think it went far enough. Almost 15% in fact, and these people will never vote Republican. Instead, they will come home in November, and the Dems, while losing some seats per usual for an incumbent prez in a midterm, they will remain in power.

    Sorry to burst that bubble!

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

    oh, forced you say as in when bush and chaney forced and shoved the Iraq invasion down our American throats, several years before, and that my friend was built on lies?

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

    I am scared to death to have the Government run health care. Have you ever gotten any help when calling the IRS? Is your local DMV efficient or quick? (I know...DMVs are not Federal, but they are government) Do you get timely service when requesting a passport? Are you telling your kids to count on getting Social Security? How big is our current deficit? If the unemployment rate is rising...therefore Americans make less...therefore Americans pay less taxes...how are we going to fund this?

    I feel that to have a more efficient and transparent government, we need to fix what we have rather than add more.

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

    So big deal. We have this bill signed now. How long do you think it will take before there are enough facilities and specialists to treat health issues without individuals being in long waiting lines and maybe many dying before they get the care? And what do you think insurance companies are going to start doing NOW, while they can still get away with it in relation to raising premiums, lessening coverage and other maneuvers to position themselves. And how about the religious groups, like Amish, who don't believe in taking government assistance? They'll be subject to the fines. I hope this thing gets declared unconstitutional, and I hope states can find ways to supercede some of this wild stuff still left in the bill.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rod

    My small business is already hurting because of other taxes that have gone up thta affect people with small businesses. Now this happens, taxes are are going to go up again. I dont know what we're going to do. I guess foreclose liek the rest o the nation. Go with the flow right?

    As former soldier, I will always support my President, but I dont' have to agree with what he/she does.

    Thanks Mr. President.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Steve C

    Lots of dems won't be elected come nov.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David

    He has to "sell it" because all of the lies from the right have made it sound like a communist revolution. It is corporate run health care w/ mandated regulations not government run health care.

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

    Re: Comments wondering why Obama has to hit the road and sell the health care bill. After all the attempts to make this bill sound so negative and scare people, we need to hear what is right and positive about it.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joshua

    Thank you Mr.Obama!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TDB

    Maejing, the majority of Americans a few years back did not agree that blacks should be allowed to defile white restaurants and white water fountains. When injustice is the issue, viable democracies act with responsibility and integrity and not by going with the majority opinion (an opinion which by the way gets swayed by the media on a daily basis).

    March 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. george

    good for you America it will not be perfect but you have the first step forward.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. cardog

    To Mark...It's unfortunate, but you are correct that the President has to promote this bill now that it is law. Why do you ask? Well, after the Republicans spent an entire year lying to the American public it is only right that President Obama and others now go out and explain the truth.

    What I'm on the look out for are the massive number of storm troopers that will soon be taking over our cities, Oh and lets not forget the gulags that are now being built for all of you right wing nuts. Any day now you will start to notice the black helicopters flying over head watching all of us, after-all we've lost our freedom since we are now a socilaist/commuinst country. If you're honest, isn't all of the above childish and stupid? I laughed all the while I was typing it. Have a great day......

    March 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
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