President Obama on Tuesday signed into law a sweeping health care reform bill, the nation’s most substantial social legislation in four decades, achieving a top priority of his administration.
Greeted by applause from enthusiastic supporters, he 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.”
The president said he is confident the Senate will improve the health care reform law swiftly. He said some health care reforms will take some time to phase in, but others will “take effect right away.”
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.
Obama said Tuesday that under provisions of the health care legislation 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.
He said he signed the bill into law on behalf of several people, including his mother, “who argued with insurance companies even as she battled cancer in her final days.” He praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, 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.”
“We are not a nation that scales back its aspirations,” the president 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.”
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Article courtesy cnn.com