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. Johnny

    Thank God for giving us the gift of having elected a President who doesn't bow to pressure, public outcries, or GOP opposition. Healthcare reform has been needed for years in this county and I'm proud to say THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT for delivering for us...the people.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ilmd333

    I'm clapping for President Obama and all the people who deserve to get a shot at healthcare that finally will. Kudos!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kj

    What a GREAT historic DAY!

    Thank You Mr.President!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mary

    THANK YOU President Obama !!!! YOU ARE A LEADER!! A GREAT ONE !!
    You stuck to your word ! We voted for change. I know you are doing this to help ALL Americans, that is your agenda only. I know you truly care. You are a good man,

    To ALL the negative Republicans, you have other agenda's and you do NOT really care about those families without healthcare or young people who can't afford it.. etc.

    You are a disgrace with bully tactics you hand the AMERICAN public.
    I DON'T buy your lies.

    Baby killer ?? what a low blow that only a republican would say !!!!!

    Can we move on NOW to the MANY other problems this nation faces ?????
    Give it a rest Republicans and your nasty slander !!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Linda in PA

    I pray that those of you who are so against this don't ever have a family member get seriously ill. I've seen firsthand my brother and sister inlaws life devastated when their son got cancer. They are now a middle class family who is struggling with a debt that will take years to pay off (if ever) since they have been denied by every insurance company out there.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ci

    Unfortunately, at the moment, the primary goal of most Republicans is to bring the system down. If that really is their goal then as soon as they get back into power (which I'm sure will happen at some point) they will find a way to bringing down health care reform and finding a way to blame Democrats for it. In other words, they will use it as a political tool, instead of a tool to make American stronger.

    I sincerely hope that the Republican position changes or health care reform will not succeed long term.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chuck

    this is a sad day for the U.S.

    1. welcome to socialism.

    2. welcome to more debt as in TRILLIONS!.

    WHAT ABOUT a balanced budget?

    the democrats just signed the U.S." DEATH WARRANT
    financially by passing this bill.

    if you review facts rather than LISTEN to fiction, how are
    the funds going to be generated to PAY FOR THIS?

    nothing is FREE, and certainly not medical coverage. for all
    of you who are celebrating this bill AND ALLEDGED free
    medical care, beware of what you ask for.

    when our country is strained beyond its own support system,
    and services start to break down remember this DAY in history!!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JoeArizona

    The Republicans, tail between legs, can now run back to the laps of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck looking for their next marching orders and for the next chance to bark 'Socialism'.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Doug

    I am reminded of November 2000, when Al Gore and the Democratic party were handed a stunning defeat when the Supreme Court ruled that certain votes in Florida would not count. Gore made the classy decision to accept defeat so as to not tear the country apart. In March of 2010, Republicans were handed a defeat after a hard fought campaign to stop health care reform. Unlike Gore, they seem unwilling to put the country's interests ahead of their own political interests. We do not need further division fueled by venomous diatribe. Do the right thing. It's time to accept defeat gracefully and move on.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Virginia Newman

    Thank God for President Barack Obama whose leadership we needed for such a time as this. Thank God for the Congressional leaders and all members of Congress who did the right thing by putting the people first. Without them this could not have been possible. Thank you and Congratulations on the success of your hard work on our behalf.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |

    @ KB: Bush and Cheney never forced us to go to Iraq, our stupid public supported it. After 9/11 our government played with our emotions, and we would stick by anything that they said. And still even with Obama our government is still controlling us with our own emotions. Bush and Cheney controlled us with fear of terrorists, the Obama admin controls us with false hope.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff

    I love how everyone applauds this man for his efforts. I once too did so but I cannot this time. How do you intend to pay for this so called healthcare reform? By cutting spending and reimbursement in the soon to be defunct Medicare system and increasing the taxes to the middle class that's how. I live in Massachusetts where this reform started and I have to say it doesn't work here. The state government is on the verge of bankruptcy as are many of the towns in the Commonwealth. How do you pay for these changes...BY TAXES. I've felt the pinch of this depression and I can't take much more of this, nor can my family. Let's face it people its a depression and it has been for a long time it's just that people are to afraid to use the "d" word. Private HMOs and PPOs will end up increasing premiums as more claims flood the market which in turn hurts the every man/woman because private insurances will pass of their costs to those that pay for their insurance and employers will have to pass this increase onto their employees. This isn't a solution to the healthcare crisis until Washington realizes that the real problem is themselves and the bureaucracy that they created as they lined their pockets with this hush hush and pay off money. Answer this question why do many of the same medications cost one tenth of the cost in Canada as they do in the United States?

    Thanks for nothing

    March 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. cardog

    To Heather...Have you read the bill? Probably not, but the Republicans convinced you enough that it's no good so this became the truth. Social Security and Medicare met the same opposition prior to becoming law. Not once this past year did I read or see on T.V. and person 65 or older saying that they hated their social security and/or Medicare and will be giving it all back to this "Evil Government" of ours.
    The sad fact about this whole process is that the Republicans are sore losers along with their followers like you. All of right wing leaning people just cannot accept that the Real Majority in this country voted for this President and the Democrats that were sent to Congress. (Finally after a year of waffling, they did their job) despite the Republican's threats.
    The Nazis in Germany used the same process as the Republicans are doing now. Tell a lie often and consistant enough and it will become the truth. I attended a town hall meeting last year and asked the question about social security and medicare. A good 65 to 70% of the people gathered there were on both systems. Yelling and screaming about Obama making us a socialist country, only because republicans, tea party groups, told them often enough that Obama will create death panels for old people. Being so absorbed with this hated and mis-information, few realized that they were receiving assistance from socialist programs and had been for some years. Learn before you judge....

    March 23, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Frank Frisch

    Thank you so much President Obama for living up to the vote that I cast for you two days before the election believing that you could make a change and that America stood for Greatness. You fought your adversaries who had untold amounts of money and lobbying pressure to try and put a stop to it. You had the courage and Nancy Pelosi and the house had the courage to persevere and be strong and make that difference.With just this one action you have made my vote for you count and made me once again be proud to be an American
    The People Once Again Have Spoken and This Proves WE Can Make A Difference

    Frank Frisch
    Fort Lauderdale,Florida

    March 23, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Val

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out – I am certain that the most ardent critics will be among the first in line to get their share of the benefits the bill provides,

    Regarding the President's energy, "eye on the prize" tenacity – are you kidding me !! He is the first African American president – how in the world to you think he got there ?? By being afraid and weak – hardly !! I believe that one of the core mistakes that Republicans consistently make when determining their opposition strategy is that they underestimate the "opponent". This President is young, smart and a masterful tactician, playing the "political" game better then anyone I have observed in many years.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
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