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. Dan

    He has to hit the road to dispel all the lies that have been spread across this nation by the teabaggers and the old people party called Republicans. At least this president is being up front with the american people rather than shut off america and lie about weapons of mass destruction that we have yet to find.

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

    This HAS to be a good thing (sarcasm), because government does things so well and with such fiscal responsibility. LOL!

    This will just ensure a conservative firestorm in November, so I have to thank the slimy triumvirate for that. Thanks Barry, Nancy, Harry.

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

    Thank you President Obama may God Bless and keep you and Vice President Biden safe.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Crush1800

    Nice, GOVERN-US (ment), signs a bill, they haven't read and know little about, now a PRESIDENT–is going to sell us on it. Guess that is how business is done, you make policy then explain to the little people what it means, seems to me, we are a government for the people BY the people. Nice to know where we all stand in NOV. If only it would have addressed the real issues of cost and premiums so everyone could actually afford it, not be fined for not having it. PEACE

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

    Okay so you signed it, now go work on fixing the economy for a change!

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

    The thing that strikes me about most of the negative comments on this board is that they come from an extremely selfish place, in my view. That's quite saddening for me.

    I feel we should be trying to care for the sick, and that's what this bill attempts to do. I don't think it's enough, but it's a great start, and I applaud the President for getting us to this point, and for going on the road to try to explain it.

    Still people of good faith can disagree, and I understand that. The tenor of the comments I see here, and on virtually every CNN comment section, are what makes me feel pessimistic about this country, not what's going on in Washington.

    Thanks to those of you who are respectful.

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

    I've never been prouder to be a Democrat! Thanks to Democrats we have many programs that positively impact real people every day: Social Security, Medicare, Civil Rights, and more. Now we can add to that Health Care Reform!

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

    Glad to see some family members and many friends with pre-existing conditions finally get some health care coverage from policies that they pay and pay for ...but little service. Thanks Obama. This is a good start to making the United States a better place for all of it's citizens.

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

    I simply can't see how people support this action?? The majority of people DON'T want this bill passed, yet the government continues to do whatever they want to. Now don't get me wrong, I am all for universal healthcare to cover those not fortunate enough to get insurance. But please open your eyes and see what is going on here: The current healthcare system is really messed up right now. So instead of fixing the problem Obama is simply forcing 32 million people onto the current messed up system. This doesn't help us, it helps the insurance providers!! They are still going to partake in shady practices and the healthcare system will get even worse! You thought is was hard to get an appointment before?? Please wake up America!

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

    The reason he needs to "hit the road" is because most Americans don't understand what is in the bill. This is not surprising given the complexity of the health care system - most Americans have no idea how the system works today and how it will change.

    Obama understands that any government program needs wide spread support over the long term to succeed. The "end" goal was not to pass the legislation, but to get it working for Americans.

    Of course, the other key to long term support is for the program to actually work for people. So the other thing he needs to concentrate on is ensuring that it is enacted properly (i.e. the "bureaucracy" actually works properly). For that to happen long term we will need politicians and citizens on both sides of the isle that are committed to making the system work.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dirk van leeuwen

    A great day for America, joining the more civilized world with respect to health care.

    dear americans: give up the nonsense beieve that this is all about the government taking over
    this is a start of restructuring health care that will be more affordable and accessible for all. imagine that you only can choose out of 30 surgeons, 50 internists, 100 pcp's or have to pay a little bit yourself (just like many company plans)

    by sharing resources we can do better for all of us! it is a start, not perfection, but all opportunities to continue to do better.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. cheryl

    God bless you and God bless America, President Obama. We are constantly praying for you.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Grison

    I am a born US Citizen and am 44 year's old and have had no major health issues and am sick and tired of Insurance Companies raising their premiums year after year after year. If that is not bad enough we are also nickeled and dimed every time we go to the doctor's. A few year's ago I put a stop to this now twice a year while in Europe (vacation or business) I also make appointments with doctor's and get all my physicals and annual check up while abroad. About 5 year's ago I went my Obgyn in NYC he has such a great reputation that you have to wait 6 months to see him. He scared me to death telling me that I had ovarian cancer however, something w/in my gut told me that was not the case. Not taking his word for it I made another appointment w/another Obgyn in NYC this other moron told me that my previous Obgyn was correct. My family resides in PA and it was upon speaking to one of them that they mentioned an Obgyn they saw on RAI International in Milan and since I am US citizen as well as an European Citizen I took the chance and called this Obgyn's office in Milan. I explained to the reception what I was told and I got very lucky and he advised that he could see me w/in a week.
    I had vacation time that I needed to use so I took my whole 3 weeks off at once, I have friends and relatives near Milan so I decided to go. I advised Dr. Finelli the Obgyn in Milan of what I was told he examined me had some tests done and as my gut told me it was NOT CANCER!!!!! I had Fibroids that grew in the cavity of my uterus causing me lots of pain with strong antibitiocs and the care I was given in Milan I was fine. Now it is 6 year's later and I still fly over to Milan to see my Obgyn trust me it costs me much less to fly to Milan than to keep Health Coverage in the USA. What a shame we are considered a power house but our citizen's have to sell their right arm to get proper coverage. What a shame.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dp

    why are all republicans crying about the cost of this bill ,??? what happened when Bush went into Iraq / Afghanistan, we are still paying for that everyday in billions I really donot understand the logic here..Our president is trying to do some good for us...but the people dont like it.. its strange...

    Congrats to Obama and thanks for thinking about the people in US first.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |

    You guys actually think this "free" health care thing is actually gonna work? Ask anyone from Canada, ask them how they feel about their health care system. Its near impossible to get an appointment. Not only that the doctors over their don't even give a crap about their patients.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
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