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. Jimmy

    Well Done America!

    For those who are reacting to the Republican fear mongering, take the time to read and understand the program. Don't buy into the lies the Repubs are telling. It's their power grab attempts at your expense.

    Yes, it will even be good for Republicans!

    Well Done!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. aloha33

    I think the lack of proper health care is the reason why so many Americans are so rediculously scared by about anything. People live in constant fear because of this.

    Now, finally the time has come to relax a little and enjoy live.

    The kicker? It even saves money in the long term, not like in Europe where federal money is wasted on a massive scale. The current bill preserves the competative american character.

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

    With respect to post # 35.

    You must live in the 3rd world somewhere. But, where I live (within the US), I HAVE gotten help by calling the IRS, My DMV is pretty efficient indeed – last time I was there, I was out in 15 mins with a renewed drivers license. Passport was issued within the time frame advertised by the agency. No, I am not telling my kids to count on Social Security and by the way, the reason social security is a mess is because ALL administrations now and prior have tapped into future reserves of social security for their purposes...wars, other pet projects etc. The deficit started by Bush dragging us into a false war followed by a recession. During these times government has no choice but to help citizens by printing money, even if it means more deficit as long as it gets back to fiscal responsibility during the good times. The problem is not Americans making less. The problem is Americans saving less and consuming more than they can handle i.e. living beyond their means artificially calling it a higher standard of living. Reality : DEBT. By the way, national unemployment has been stagnant at 9.7% for the last couple of months.

    Hope this helps clear some of the fog up.

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

    Finally! A president who says what he means and means what he says!

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

    Regardless of what the pieces of this bill are its a remarkable pivoting poiint in american healthcare. Status quo is not the way to go yet as humans we are so afraid of change. Now we have it and can start ot change and measure what is and what is not working and then add new laws and regulations to change it. But without the groundbreaking pivot point we would get nowhere. Thank you to the people in congress like Pelosi who have pushed and to President Obama for starting us on the road to change!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chronykle

    A day of failure:

    1. We have lost the right to determine our own healthcare and when we would like to purchase any if we want too.
    2. People with pre existing conditions got fooled on this one. Not only will they be purchasing some of the most expensive insurance "High Risk Insurance" but many will not be able to afford that type of insurance so they will have to take the fine. So basically those who cannot afford "High RIsk Insurance" there is no change other than having to pay fines. Now for children it is great they can get the regular insurance.
    3. This product is built on the backs of fines. With the government knowing that many many people cannot afford insurance they will get fined to pay for the higher income people who can have health insurance.
    4. Starting next year the IRS will be kept up to date on how much your health insurance costs. And there goes your privacy.

    This bill is no good. It is garbage no matter what anyone says. Because in the end those who supported this supported the fact that you don't care if your family or friends can afford Health Insurance. This was not a Lower Rates Health Care Reform. This is just called Health Care Reform.

    Now if you disagree and agree that this is still a good bill. How come all those who passed it are exempt from having to have it. Yes the higher level government just took control of your life and the grass is definately not green.

    Are you scared? You should be! This bill is going to take a heavy toll on all families. I am sorry I did not read it sooner and form a group to fight this a little harder. But I just finished it and the facts are above. This is a day of failure for our country. I just hope it does not crumble it knowng this is not the control our forefathers wanted on our country. Our forefathers wanted us free.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Martin Cusack

    Thank you Obama,
    I hear you get smeared cause some dont like what your doing but
    for many years i have not liked what the country has been doing
    with the previous president. Today you restored my faith in my
    country and dispite the fact you cant please everybody
    I know my family will be better off now with the efforts you have made.
    you have my 2012 vote !

    March 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. kazport

    How about hitting the road for JOBS> Enough of the spending Now he thinks we are idiots and we need an explanation. He lies anyway when he says no new taxes and your premium will be cut by 2500.00 its just not true. A shame he needs to waste time defending something that was supposed to be so wonderful.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MAN

    Rise above self interest and see the good that health care laws will do for America as the most out of shape, economically challenged country. If we can spend OVER 370Million a day on a pointless prescence in Iraq- we can surely pay for our own well being. The President will travel to explain this law rather than promote the new law – BECAUSE no one seems intelligent enough to "figure it out on thier own". If you are confused by whats in it, he is able to articulate the points so EVERYONE understands -even if you dont agree. One this is clear, he is looking out for you, whether you care that he is or not. At Grant Park he said to his critics and non-supporters.."I will be your President too". Finally a leader that did something he promised for the overall good of our country.."What have you done lately to promote unity? justice? understanding? equality? just saying...

    March 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Father of 3 in FL

    I for one will be more than happy to have some kind of health coverage for the first time in 12 years. I can actually go to the doctor rather than looking up a diagnosis online and praying that my homemade McGuyver treatments work. A step forward for our nation for sure...

    March 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David Loewenstein

    Well done Mr. President! He is traveling to make clear to the American people what this bill truely represents. The Republicans and their mouthpieces have done such an effective job of distorting the bill and using anger and fear about upsetting the status quo (for the rich and insurance companies). The insurance companies are livid about the outcome and you can be sure that the corporate interests will keep distorting the facts in the hope that the Repuiblicans will come back to power and support their interests.

    President Obama promised health reform on behalf of the American people and delivered. The Republicans had their chance under eight years of the Bush administration and accomplished little (except for deregulation that almost bankrupted our country).

    March 23, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. lwena

    I have read all the comments.. and still cannot believe that people accually think this healthcare bill is going to do anything for the people. They will dictate everything.. who will get care.. how often.. to what extent.. our government is suppose to do things for WE THE PEOPLE not to line there pockets with money we DO NOT HAVE. This bill isnt even really about healthcare.. its about all those who will recieve a TON of money.. the long list of crap.. attacted to the bill.. The government does not give a crap about WE that people.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dianna Florance

    Those having any means of health insurance would not necessarily understand the plight of those who do not.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Frank

    People are so stupid....They're so scared of "new govt run health care" ..."the govt doesnt do anything right!" "its gonna be horrible!" compared to what??? Has anybody ever had to deal with an insurance company under the CURRENT health care system?? CANT BE ANY WORSE THAN IT IS NOW. Here's an idea...TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT....REMEMBER: at some point we figured out the world was not flat because some one was brave enough to get in a boat and see.....IDIOTS!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RW

    So how long before they take over personal retirement accounts in the name of helping the poor and disadvantaged?

    March 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
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