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. Cara

    Thank you Mr President for not letting these republican games get in the way. They have shown their childish and immature nature and you did not let it stop you. Now we can progress as a nation as we should have many years before. Thank you for not giving in to the insanity and the idiocrocy and the stumbling blocks that were thrown in front of you. Thank you for not giving in to the lies that were told. Thank you.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TONY

    You guys sre so well informed about what the health care bill really cover. How can I view a copy of the bill so that I can read the bill for my self ,so that I may be well informed like everyone who's commenting about the actual bill.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kish

    Way to do the right thing and not what's popular. I am an ER Registered Nurse and see firsthand how those w/o health insurance suffer. I applaud you and your efforts. I support President Obama in all he does. He is doing as he promised. Oh! I love hearing the president speak! He is sharp as a tack! Keep the change coming!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alex

    I make 120,000 a year and do not have insurance, by choice. I afford to pay full price at my doctors visits and pay full price for my prescription drugs. Does this mean, I have to now pay nearly 10,000 in healthcare or I will be fined? how does this make sense?

    March 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Eric

    This is not government run healthcare. Their is no public option. You still have to buy health insurance, just now lower income families can get it because the government subsidizes it. I would normally vote Republican but I realize now the Republican party is a bunch of sore losers who want to scare the American people back into power with their calls of socialism about this policy. Funny how much they are in support of Government spending of defense money, which is also "socialist policy" Maybe we should turn the Army into privatized militia. They also act like a bunch of idiots in Congress with their outbursts and heckling, in my opinion they need to grow up. Bunch of Crybabies. A government should work on behalf of the people, not corporations and big business.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ray

    There are no free lunches. Down the road we WILL see more government interventions that will absolutely run the program into insolvency, raise taxes tenfold on middle class Americans, restrict and degrade the quality is healthcare for all. There is not a single government program that anyone can hold up as efficient and fiscally capable to sustain. I am amazed that so many put there head in the sand, their fingers in their ears, and chant when this is pointed out. I agree that changes are needed to the healthcare system but not changes that do harm to the many for a few.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. reality2day

    what a shame obama pushing such a reform affecting everyone in the country when so many people dont want it. its the first time in decades that not one republican voted for a big bill.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lino manocchia

    Tha company of handcrieft is makin tons of them for the repoblicans that still don't understand
    that their politic is strange, allineated wit g. Hanniry Rush and company.
    Good luck disappointed politician ala Mc Cain and company/
    Pat M.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. KA

    Good job Mr. President and Congress. I am tired of people making inordinate profits from my life or death. Not all things should be run through the government, but this is certianly something that needs mediation outside the capitalist spectre. Preventative care may actually be possible! I have no problem paying taxes to ensure each of us can live healthier lives. A word to the Republican party, you should be ashamed.

    FANTASTIC first step!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. William

    Thank you for passing and signing this bill into law. I will always vote for the democrats here in Texas from now on. I cannot believe my republican party did nothing to support this health care reform.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    How quickly people seem to forget all the time President Bush spent on the road convincing the people to support his intentions in Iraq. It's what Presidents do. At least President Obama is helping people understand how they'll benefit from a health care reform bill. That's an easier sale than a war against a people who never attacked us. You rallied for Pres. Bush then. I'd think you'd be able to rally for a REAL cause with real benefits for the American people. Stop spouting talking points. As the Great Master said, we are our brother's keeper.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jane

    A response to Dee – Its not Government Run Healthcare – this is exactly why Obama needs to get out and talk to the American people – because of all the right wing bs and confusion that has been caused by Tea Party and other Republicans whose only goal is to see Obama fail! All this bill really is is Health Insurance Reform and it is long overdue.... people have such short memories in this country – do you really think its acceptable to have over 40 million people who can't get insurance or get turned down for cover because of pre-existing conditions (these are the people in my opinion that need health insurance the most)? Is it acceptable to let people go bankrupt to pay for surgery and medical costs? Is it acceptable for people to die because they can't get health care? Come on ... grow up,,, do your research and then form your opinion.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gonzo

    10 years from now all this will be history and then Republicans will try to take credit for it, and back track on all the things that they have said. but in 10 years maybe there will be no (R) party. It’s a dead corpse right now, rotting on its ignorance and hate. in a way they are playing it the best that they can, since they have nothing to lose. They are a broken party going nowhere.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DaisyinAZ

    To Dee I am sorry that you have such a problem with government services. I too feel that they are not as efficient as I would like them to be. i have run into walls, red tape, and loads of bureaucracy. But I have run into those same problems everywhere in life. I'm sure you have complained about the efficiency of the company you work for. Complained that your Superiors don't listen to you. It is everywhere. But you can't throw out the good with the bad. Fire, Police, schools, roads, are all things that our government handles and I would not want to stop those services. As for the deficit I understand your concern, but where were you when Bush took us from a Budget SURPLUS to a trillion $ deficit. Obama took office AFTER the economy tanked and the sole responsibility lay on Bush and the Republican party. We have spent more on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in ! year that we will on this Healthcare Bill in 10 years. So don't be scared of healthcare for everyone this is a good thing. The fear comes from not knowing the facts. You hear all the time the people don't want this Bill, well the American Medical association sponsered this bill. And when it comes to managing my health i look to Dr. not radio talk show hosts for the facts.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jay

    Great point KB. Over the past 9 years, "Trillions" of taxpayer dollars have been spent to fund a war that was declared under false pretenses, where thousands and thousands of young lives have been lost and will continue to be lost. Republicans don't seem to have a problem with that. However, taxpayer dollars being spent on Healthcare, that could possibly saves lives, are a problem for you?? I don't get it.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
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