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. Evelyn Bassoff

    Thank you, President Obama. I am deeply grateful for your integrity and leadership.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Marc

    Don't blame me, I voted for McCain.

    I guess since the stimulus package didn't keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent (as promised), more people are going to need government subsidized health care.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kelly

    It takes an extraordinary person to do what is right, not just what is popular. I’m proud of our President and those who stood by him. If we made congress, and state and federal employees pay the same rates for insurance that everyone else pays, this bill would have been passed a long, long time ago.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Luke in San Diego

    Thank you Mr. President!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bhagos

    This is a wonderful day for all of us. I have health care through my employer. Now i will be happy when my fellow Americans who have been discriminated by insurance companies finally will have health care including young kids.

    Job well done Democrats.

    Republicans will do anything they can to slow down health care for Americans because it is very hard for them to get money for their nasty ads. They have nothing to do with helping in need Americans.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff

    I'm glad the bill passed. 6 years of being uninsured and seeing the high cost of premiums has been nerve-wrecking and frustrating for my family. Last year we bought insurance because my wife was becoming more ill, surgery was the only option, yet our insurance company did not want to pay for it, they demanded more info from us saying it was a pre-existing condition. So that proves that even if you paid big bucks for your health insurance, those greedy cowards-low-life insurance policy makers behind the desk will deny coverage at their choosing. The whole industry is just a big mafia of thugs. G-R-E-E-D

    March 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Robert A Stephenson

    On behalf of the millions without healthcare and to the signs which demand "Don´t touch my healthcare" we can respond "It is our healthcare now" Thankyou Mr President you are a man of greatl intellect and the courage to use it!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Trylon

    The system by which a society distributes health care among its members is that society's answer to the question: "Why have a society in the first place?"

    President Obama goes "on the road" because there are TWO answers to that basic question. These two answers oblige the People to decide if we remain One People, or whether we have become TWO Peoples who, frankly, would rather live in two entirely different countries. It is not a good sign that 10 states have signed up for Constitutional challenge of the new law.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. toddbanng

    Wonderful news – and finally. After decades of hearing "now's not the time", debating the topic and then forgetting about it – we finally have the beginning of reform. Folks on the other side don't and probably will never get it – YOUR bill keeps going higher and higher, primarily because of two reasons:
    1> The health care industry is absolutely un-regulated in regards to what they can charge, how much or under what circumstances. Apparently, you're one of the folks who've never had the distinct displeasure of pleading your case or that of a relative, for payment of care under a given
    insurance policy. What good is it, when they choose what's best for you and not your doctor and the patient???
    2> By making healthcare generally unaffordable for many folks, most of which HAD healthcare at one time, but were forced out for one reason or another – WE already pay dearly for their emergency room visits and hospital stays!!!! (well, DUH!!!) So, I'd much rather not have to cover this expense as well – nope, no thank you.

    And let's not forget the most grevious of all false claims made by the Republicans and Tea Party idiots – this will HURT the medical and insurance industry??? What??? Are you kidding me? This is a result of giving our entire healthcare over to private enterprise – and give most folks the plain writing on the wall that "privitization" is about greed, not about care.

    Last year was the highest profit for the healthcare and pharma industry – at slightly over $16 BILLION dollars – in what will historically be known as the 2nd worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

    Pass the kleenex to the whiners in the back – and play them a sad song

    March 23, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Heather

    We will see you in November! Then we can see if the polls are accurate; if indeed a majority of Americans opposed this bill.

    I still think this law, the way it was done, the way they ignored the American people, will come back to haunt the democrats in November.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dave Phillips

    I thought in the early 1990's when this failed that there would never be reform. It is amazing how hard Republicans fought against doing something to help people, and even now are so angry that this bill passed.

    That will harm them forever, or until it changes.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    The President shouldn't have had to campaign as hard as he did for such a logical and beneficial piece of legislation, but the GOP Tea-Party alliance has spent countless millions along with their friends from the Insurance lobby to defeat reform at all costs...I for one am GLAD he campaigned hard for this. We will be better for it in the long run, just as we're better for the courageous presidents who established Social Security and Medicare so that senior citizens can have dignity in their old age...ALL Americans should be able to have peace of mind r.e. healthcare coverage.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Andrew Messenger

    March 23rd, 2010 – A day that will go down in infamy. The day the American dream died.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tanya

    Thank you Mr. President! We love you. Thank you for being there for the American people. We will forever be by your side!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JM

    God bless the Men and Woman that got this done. This bill is not cheap, it's not perfect, and it's not simple. But in life, we must do what's right. And this is right. This needed to be done. I don't like how it was handled, or the whole of the bill, but something had to be done.

    When I was a child my parents taught me to do what is right, and at any price. My parents were both heavily involved in the civil rights movement, and paid some heavy prices in the Detroit riots. But they found ways to make things work, so they could fight for "right".

    How dare us, as a country, discuss letting Americans die, our neighbors, because we want to keep our money for our selves. How dare you people plan to walk into a church this Sunday, and praise God, while you are more concerned on your own cushy life, than a child who will die that morning of a CURABLE disease.

    I am not a stupid man, I know this bill is expensive, I know they will raise my taxes, I know they had to pull some crap to get it passed. But, as a Nation, our conscience should be a little clearer tonight, and we should all sleep just a little better.
    For the rest, the Ultra conservative, Republican, Christian Coalition: What will you do when you face God, and have to explain why you thought having a larger bank account was more important than saving the lives of millions? I am not an overly religious man, but may God have mercy on your souls.

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