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. David

    This bill isn't socialist...It pointless. Wait until all those currently uninsured people have to start paying for health insurance to those very same evil insurance companies Obama and company have been spouting about for days.

    Everyone should prepare themselves for an insurance company instigated rectal exam of your premium payments to offset those losses. As businesses have proved over and over you don't have to be all that smart to outsmart the US government.

    Seems to me it was more important to pass a historic health care reform then it was to pass good health care reform... Oh that is right... The fix will be health care make that 3.0...check that 4.0... Oh who are we kidding...This will never be good or fair.

    Glad to see that fumbling, bumbling leadership isn't limited to one side of the isle. But as they say. In a republic you get exactly the kind of leadership you deserve.

    Luckily combined as one voice we have the effective IQ of a person with down syndrome otherwise they might be in trouble.

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

    The health care plan:
    written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it, to be signed by a president that also hasn't read it and who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's broke. What could go wrong?

    March 23, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Simone

    I am pro life. I believe everywhere should have access to health care.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dan

    Spencer – The fact of the matter is that a majority of Americans did not want THIS bill. Whether they didn't think it went far enough or not is irrelevant. The fact is that our so called "representatives" voted for a bill that the majority of Americans did not want, for a variety of different reasons. The Democrats will pay a heavy price in November for ignoring their constituents and bowing to the pressure from Nancy Pelosi and company.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Neal

    Welcome to the Divided Socialis States of America. Feels like the good old days of the Soviet Union. The Russians had Lenin, Stalin,nkhrushchev and Brezhnev.....we have Pelosi, Reid, Stupak, and Obama. Just warms your heart doesn't it? In a few years the U.S. will be just like the former USSR.......GONE!!!! God save our country from this abomination!!!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. RealisticAmerican

    WOW! It's really sad to see so many American people so passionately angry about this bill and Obama.
    It’s sad to hear so many twisted analogies filled with such hate from fellow Americans who are willing to fight, die or kill over something all people need, affordable Health Care. This debate has reviled another dark side of our country that’s still alive like Anthrax! Hate never dies its just suppressed.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kihara

    Thank You Mr. President! Your determination, your zeal to do this- What's right, is inspiring. It is leadership! May the good Lord bless you, May the good Lord bless the United States of America!

    March 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RealisticAmerican

    The insurance companies are the real bad guy here not Obama and his administration. The insurance companies are the ones who dictate what and who will be covered and they can at their own discretion drop anyone for any reason. What would you do if you get dropped or your claim was denied?

    Insurance companies make life and death choices for millions of Americans every day and we Americans have no choice and no help. This bill eliminates some of those problems and prevents the insurance companies from “pushing the button” on our health and lives.

    Stop bitching! You need health insurance and pay health insurance anyway. At least it’ll be cheaper soon and those without it will be able to afford it.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Olaf

    Nice to hear this,at last americans can stay in their country and get treated instead of coming out and using british or german hospital and tax payers money to get themselfs well again.

    Thousands of Americans married to europeans make the journey back to europe after getting sick in america to use the system which the americans call socialist medicine and backward system,they reregister in europe,and use the social system weeks after entering europe spending millions in the process with less or no contribution to the system.

    At least as an european,one can possibly save millions or euros,when this patient decides to stay home and get treated in america.



    March 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TomM

    This is a good healthcare plan. Those rich republicans should be punished and forced to pay for everyone else to get free stuff. If I am not getting my free stuff then we are not a civilized country. Republicans keep working hard and paying your taxes! Thanks from me and Obama for the tax dollars.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    KUDOS to the American President for attempting and being pretty successful in doing what no other President has done in the last 50 years. While, I will likely be affected eventually by some tax hikes, it will be well worth the helath insurance that will be out there, incase, I have to use it. Many of the opponents of this plan are either young and healthy or already have insurance coverage. BUT, what they don't have today is what could be needed by them, if they were to need the services now covered by the reform. The rest are simply mis-informed by listening to the massive PR campaign by the Republicans to install fear in the minds of citizens, while they themselves continue to enjoy the benefits, even after they have left the congress. It's easy to sit on the sidelines and simply say NO and their funded organizations organizing rallies that have been full of racial slurs, rather than do something to address the common people's cause. The fake war in Iraq would have more than compensated for the deficit this bill would run in the short term. The repubs know, that they cannot stop this BUT we are in for thousands of amendments from them in the next 7 days to stall the process. I cannot but imagine them saying anything other than NO to any future legislation until the American people bring them back into Power not realizing the Democrats can play the same game. Patheitc!!!!!!

    March 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JuanR

    After watching Anderson Cooper last night and hearing what Sarah Palin had said about the military, I really do wonder how this will affect the military since they do get free health care now. It would be rather interesting to see if military members will now have to start paying for health care with their less than good income.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Trouble

    For some on this board who can't understand why he's hitting the road to promote it... it's to educate you. You see, many of you have been perpetually whining about it... how it's going to break the backbone of the American way. You fume with rage and vengeance and become abusive toward those who disagree with you. You justify your hate through principal. However, it's merely because you don't understand the details of the bill. You've been duped by the propaganda of a failed and self-serving political party which has no contemporary ideas and simply wants to "buy time" for itself... and wants you to operate in neutral with it. It has hoped scary rhetoric, mixed with the ignorance of the country's citizens, will be the key to "winning."

    You see, Obama is merely trying to put it all into a user-friendly perspective for you... break it down and be transparent, unlike someone like, say, Bush. If you would do the research on subjects, he wouldn't have to go around and explain it to you as though you were children. But... instead of embracing this as an opportunity, you turn it around and use it against him... once again. This, perhaps, is your problem. There is just no pleasing you.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kirk

    With the 'INDIVIDUAL MANDATE' that becomes law in 2014 all Americans will be forced to buy insurance or pay penalties. For no reason other than being alive and breathing. WE ALL BECOME SERFS THAT DAY !! (National Anthem becomes hypocrisy .. land of the 'free' is no more, Pelosi and co. have robbed our birthrights!!) .

    March 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Garmac

    Thank you Mr. President!!! For all of the good you are doing for America!!!! Do not listen to the dumb right wing nuts that are paranoid and clinge to their guns and their money. They don't care about other people, only about themselves and the precious dollars that Bush already dilapidated in a war built on lies. And of course they will blame Obama for everything they can!

    March 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
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