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Obama signs healthcare bill into law

world Updated: Mar 24, 2010 01:45 IST
US President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed into law the landmark Health Care bill that introduces sweeping reforms in the country's health care system, capping a historic legislative victory that had eluded several of his predecessors.

"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 at the signing ceremony held at the White House.

The Senate had on Sunday passed the Bill that eluded several of Obama's predecessors, including Bill Clinton and George W Bush.

Obama was flanked by some of the key- architects of the bill and all those who made this happen including the Vice President, Joe Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Sen Edward Kennedy's widow Vicki was also present at the historic signing in ceremony.

"You know, it is fitting that Congress passed this historic legislation this week, for as we mark the turning of spring, we also mark a new season in America. In a few moments, when I sign this bill, all of the overheated rhetoric over reform will finally confront the reality of reform," Obama said minutes before he put his signature on the bill.

"The bill I'm signing will set in motion reforms that generations of Americans have fought for and marched for and hungered to see. It will take four years to implement fully many of these reforms, because we need to implement them responsibly," he said.

Obama said this year insurance companies will no longer be able to drop people's coverage, when they get sick or they won't be able to place lifetime limits or restrictive annual limits on the amount of care they can receive.

The President said once this reform is implemented, health insurance exchanges will be created, a competitive marketplace, where uninsured people and small businesses will finally be able to purchase affordable quality insurance.

Obama said this legislation will also lower costs for families and for businesses and for the federal government, reducing deficit by over $1 trillion in the next two decades.

"It is paid for, it is fiscally responsible. And it will help lift a decades-long drag on our economy," he said.