WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has signed the $938
billion health care overhaul that guarantees coverage for 32
million uninsured Americans and represents the biggest
accomplishment of his presidency.
He said it sets in motion "desperately needed reforms" sought
by generations of Americans and helps lift a "decades-long drag"
on the economy.
The new law will be the main issue in this fall's midterm
Obama signed the bill at an elaborate ceremony Tuesday in the
East Room of the White House, to be followed by an even larger
celebration at an Interior Department auditorium.
With Victoria Kennedy, widow of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy in
the audience, Obama took note of the long battle to bring the
health overhaul measure to his desk.
Meanwhile, Republicans who see the measure as an unwarranted
government takeover are threatening a move to repeal it. And
they're planning to slow down or change a companion measure in the
As he signed the landmark health care bill into law on Tuesday, the President paid tribute to ordinary Americans who've had to wrestle with health insurance problems - and those ordinary Americans include his mother.
Obama said his mother had to argue with insurance companies over
health coverage even as she was dying of cancer.
He paid tribute to an 11-year-old boy whose mother died because she didn't have insurance and couldn't get the care she needed. He mentioned an Ohio woman who had to give up her health insurance because of skyrocketing insurance premiums, and now is hospitalized without any coverage.
Obama also paid tribute to presidents past and other leaders who
sought health reform.
Meanwhile- President Barack Obama says members of Congress took their "lumps" over health care reform - and he's getting no argument from them.
One lawmaker responded, "Yes, we did," after Obama pointed out
the political beating that some members are taking on the issue.
Speaking to a large group of lawmakers before signing the health
care bill at the White House Tuesday, the president paid tribute to
what he called the "historic leadership and uncommon courage" of
the members of Congress who pushed ahead with the measure amid theoften heated debate.
Obama is setting out on the road later this week to try to
minimize the political damage to lawmakers over the health care
bill by convincing the American people of its merits.
Links to More Information on the Heathcare Bill