Obama signs health reform bill

More than a dozen states say they'll sue to block it

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 11:55 AM
Last updated Thursday, July 11, 2013 2:20 PM
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WASHINGTON  - President Barack Obama today signed into law a landmark health care reform bill, presiding over the biggest shift in U.S. domestic policy since the 1960s and capping a divisive, yearlong debate that could define the November congressional elections.

President Obama and Vice President Biden acknowledge crowd at this morning's bill signing ceremony.  AP
AP
President Obama and Vice President Biden acknowledge crowd at this morning's bill signing ceremony.

The law will bring near-universal coverage to a wealthy country in which tens of millions of people are uninsured. The plan's provisions will be phased in over four years, and it is expected to expand coverage to about 95 percent of eligible Americans, compared with 83 percent today.

"We have now just enshrined the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health," Obama said at a signing ceremony at the White House, where he was joined by House and Senate Democrats who backed the bill as well as ordinary Americans whose health care struggles have touched the president.

The plan will eventually extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans, reduce federal budget deficits and ban such insurance company practices as denying coverage to people with existing medical problems.

Republicans united in opposition pledged to repeal Obama's redesign of the health care system, which they criticized as a costly government takeover affecting one-sixth of the U.S. economy. The Republicans lack the votes needed to repeal the measure, but the minority party plans to use the issue to try to regain control of Congress in the November elections.

Shortly after Obama signed the bill, mostly Republican attorneys general from 13 states said they are suing the federal government to stop the health care overhaul, arguing that the provision that requires Americans to carry health insurance is unconstitutional. Experts say the effort will likely fail because the U.S. Constitution states that federal law supersedes state laws, but it will keep the issue alive until the November elections.

Democratic lawmakers say they have delivered on Obama's campaign pledge for change, revamping a system in which the spiraling costs have put health care and insurance out of the reach of many Americans.

Now the president must sell the law's merits to a wary American public.

The next act begins Thursday, when Obama visits Iowa City, Iowa, where he announced his health care plan as a presidential candidate in May 2007. There Obama plans to talk about how the new law will help lower health care costs for small businesses and families, selling the overhaul to Americans who are deeply divided over the plan.

The House passed the 10-year, $938 billion bill Sunday night after a rancorous debate. Not one Republican voted for the bill. Some Democrats also voted against it.

The measure represents the biggest expansion of the U.S. federal government's social safety net since the 1960s, when President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted the Medicare and Medicaid government-funded health care coverage programs for the elderly and poor.

A companion measure sought by House Democrats to make a series of changes to the main bill was approved 220-211. It goes to the Senate, where debate could begin as early as Tuesday. Majority Leader Harry Reid says he has the votes to pass it - though only under special budget rules requiring just 50 votes rather than the 60 usually needed to bypass the opposition's delaying tactics.

Republicans plan to offer scores of amendments to slow or change the companion measure, which Democrats hope to approve as written and send directly to Obama for his signature.

Even so, the health care debate will likely continue for months as both parties try to use it to motivate their backers to turn out in huge numbers in the November congressional elections.

Obama's yearlong campaign to overhaul health care seemed at a dead end in January, when a Republican won a special election to fill the late Edward Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat, and with it, enough votes to prevent the bill from coming to a final vote in the Senate. But the Democrats regrouped and soon came up with a rescue plan that required the House to approve the Senate-passed measure despite opposition to many of its provisions, then have both chambers pass a measure incorporating numerous changes.

Obama has pushed health care as his top priority since taking office in January 2009. Failure would have weakened him and endangered other issues on the president's ambitious domestic agenda, including immigration reform and climate change legislation.

So-called tea party activists, who believe that government spending and influence should be limited, are vowing to exact political revenge on those who passed it.

The government "has declared war on our way of life," activist Eric Odom from Nevada said Monday.

In Florida, about 85 tea party groups have about 100,000 members, according to Everett Wilkinson, a leader in the state's movement. A rally was planned in Boca Raton later Tuesday.

The movement's name is taken from the Boston Tea Party, a 1773 protest in which activists in the then-British colonies in America boarded ships and threw their cargo of English tea into Boston Harbor in a symbolic act of protest against taxes.

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Notreally
4
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Notreally 03/23/10 - 11:00 am
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Well GLORY...

Well GLORY...

happychimer
19521
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happychimer 03/23/10 - 11:03 am
0
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YES!

YES!

KSL
143478
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KSL 03/23/10 - 11:09 am
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Well, that makes him a liar,

Well, that makes him a liar, now doesn't it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5t8GdxFYBU

CarlosC
0
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CarlosC 03/23/10 - 11:09 am
0
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Who is making the special

Who is making the special pitcher of Kook-Aid?

jsin
0
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jsin 03/23/10 - 11:16 am
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Love the kool-aid comment.

Love the kool-aid comment. But really, No one not even the government is going to tell me I have to buy any kind of insurance! So go ahead and fine me, jail me, whatever. This reminds me of the beginning of the Empire in Episode III.

kjspruill
0
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kjspruill 03/23/10 - 12:01 pm
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jsin.....so I guess that you

jsin.....so I guess that you also don't have homeowners or automobile insurance........

smec29
31
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smec29 03/23/10 - 01:11 pm
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The Great United States of

The Great United States of America will soon be looked upon as the Once Great.....
regardless of your political party this should stir fear in your hearts.

Local Interests
40
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Local Interests 03/23/10 - 02:34 pm
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And, more importantly, jsin,

And, more importantly, jsin, are you prepared to pay up front and in cash the full price of all doctor visits, ambulance trips and hospital stays?
I'm tired of our emergency rooms being filled with the runny noses of the uninsured. They will have insurance so they can go to a primary care doctor and leave the emergency room for emergencies.

chipshirley
0
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chipshirley 03/23/10 - 04:01 pm
0
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And the stock market goes

And the stock market goes through the roof on the news!

Health Care stocks all up!

Hospitals, Pharma, even Health Insurance companies all up!

Good country people, my fellow Georgians, Limbaugh and Boortz and their ilk are liars and fools!

Let's throw off the chains of their hateful lies and move forward as one nation under God indivisable with liberty and justice for all!

walkedit
34
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walkedit 03/23/10 - 04:34 pm
0
0
Yes Chip, they are UP. That

Yes Chip, they are UP. That is what motivated this move. Do you think the poor or middle class will actually benefit from this? No! It has once again benefited the stock holders of pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. The idea of access to affordable health care is a good idea, but the reality is "there is no free lunch." The same unprotected groups of self employeed, or employees of small companies will still pay through the nose for benefits. Wise up people! I believe that any governmentally regulated business should be entitled to the same insurance coverages, at the same costs, as the entity of the regulator. Perhaps this mandate would get the government out of private businesses. Any mandatory insurance is another form of TAXATION! Are there so many Americans unable to make day to day decisions that they NEED a government to tell them what to do? If so, they need to jump on the first ship or jet to a communist country. We do not need a DICTATOR!

justus4
113
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justus4 03/23/10 - 05:21 pm
0
0
Hee, hee. Let's review: The
Unpublished

Hee, hee. Let's review: The conservatives said: "He has no experience", "He has never run a business", "He will fail" and so, the president was right and they were wrong. Their doomsday predictions were not true, but more importantly, the right-wing have failed to correctly predict political events and this Fall's election cycle prediction, as stated in the article, will also prove to be wrong. Here is why: The legal challenges from those (r)s AG will become costly. That money is taxpayer dollars. Several of those AG are running for higher office and using this issue to gain name recognition while citizens foot the bill. Once discovered, that info will place these guys in a horrible light and not to mention the zero chance of winning. This money going to law firms will benefit them but the people of those states will lose out big time. And here is the main burden which they know the states can't overcome: The Supremacy Clause outlined in the Constitution.

confederate american
0
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confederate american 03/23/10 - 05:40 pm
0
0
states will again start

states will again start governing themselves like they are suppose to do in the first place,and tell the federal government to take a hike.States have sold there self to the government for to long,hell the american people or the government don't even own this land any more,it was sold a long time ago for the almighty dollar.

chipshirley
0
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chipshirley 03/23/10 - 06:22 pm
0
0
Wakeup Guys! Without our

Wakeup Guys!

Without our government we are just individuals fighting it out jungle style over every disagreement. And from there it might take centuries to even settle on a monarchy much less the democratic republic that we are, which took all of human history to achieve!

Our government, the USA is what separates us from animals and monarchs and dictators and slavery.

We went from ZERO federal income tax at the start of our nation all the way up to 90% income tax on the super-rich under FDR, Truman and Eisenhower, down to 77% under JFK down to about 27% under Reagan.

But when the taxes were up in the 77-90 percent range we paid for WWII and built our entire interstate expressway system and we went to the moon.

We have shifted to the left and right for 300 years. It is only natural, it is our great democracy.

Get involved in a patriotic way!

Riverman1
93447
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Riverman1 03/23/10 - 06:26 pm
0
0
What about Vice President

What about Vice President Biden saying audibly, "It's a big $#%*&^ deal?" It's pretty hard to talk about tea party demonstrators when the VP is uttering obscenities.

Riverman1
93447
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Riverman1 03/23/10 - 06:32 pm
0
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Seriously, how can anyone

Seriously, how can anyone talk about Palin not being qualified to be VP when we have Biden oozing obscenities and brain matter out of those holes in his head all over Obama's suit?

gaspringwater
3
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gaspringwater 03/23/10 - 06:53 pm
0
0
Well healthcare fans --

Well healthcare fans -- Jubilant Obama signed the heath care bill into law in the East Room of the White house. And it was only fitting that Vicki Kennedy, widow of Sen. Ted Kennedy was present. Nobody labored longer for American's healthcare than the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. And Vicki too was a voice on the phone urging Democrats to support the legislation ahead of the vote. Present also was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the person most responsible for this Herculean achievement. Sen. Patrick Leahy took his own photographs. A most historic occasion and give Obama credit for good taste too. He wasn't stupid enough to put up a mission accomplish banner.

DontTazeMeBro
2
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DontTazeMeBro 03/23/10 - 07:22 pm
1
0
I'm ready for SC's 2nd first

I'm ready for SC's 2nd first secession.

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