American History

Posted on by Karina

Earlier today, President Obama signed the Senate-passed health insurance reform bill into law—legislation, along with the House-passed improvements, that will ensure all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care and significantly reduce long-term health care costs. President Obama before signing:

Our presence here today is remarkable and improbable. With all the punditry, all of the lobbying, all of the game-playing that passes for governing in Washington, it's been easy at times to doubt our ability to do such a big thing, such a complicated thing; to wonder if there are limits to what we, as a people, can still achieve. It's easy to succumb to the sense of cynicism about what's possible in this country.

But today, we are affirming that essential truth — a truth every generation is called to rediscover for itself — that we are not a nation that scales back its aspirations. (Applause.) 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. That's not who we are. That's not how we got here.

We are a nation that faces its challenges and accepts its responsibilities. We are a nation that does what is hard. What is necessary. What is right. Here, in this country, we shape our own destiny. That is what we do. That is who we are. That is what makes us the United States of America.

And we have now just enshrined, as soon as I sign this bill, the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care. (Applause.) And it is an extraordinary achievement that has happened because of all of you and all the advocates all across the country.

Watch President Obama’s speech and the signing:

The Speaker’s statement after President Obama signed the bill into law:

On Sunday night, the House of Representatives made history for our country and progress for the American people. Today, with the stroke of his pen, President Obama completed what the late Senator Edward Kennedy called ‘the great unfinished business of our society’ by signing historic health insurance reform into law.

For our country, these acts mark one more step forward in our drive to realize the promise of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ enshrined in our Declaration of Independence. For America's families, this means greater access to more affordable care; greater accountability to end the worst practices of the insurance industry; greater innovation and competitiveness in our economy; and greater stability and security for seniors, students, workers, and entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Health insurance reform will stand alongside Social Security and Medicare in the annals of American history. But our fight is not over yet. In passing this legislation, the House took action to improve and strengthen the bill. I look forward to the Senate vote on these changes in the coming days and to finishing the work of reform for all Americans.

This week, the Senate is expected to take up the reconciliation bill the House also passed on Sunday to improve the Senate-passed bill, with Leader Reid saying today:

We have one more leg of this journey to complete. The Senate has worked closely with the House to make this good bill even better, and we plan to finish our work as soon as possible.

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