“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. And it is an extraordinary achievement that has happened because of all of you and all the advocates all across the country.” And with that statement, President Barack Obama signed The Patient Affordable Health Care Act into law.
The President thanked a list of people responsible for making this day possible, among them the late Teddy Kennedy, saying, “I remember seeing Ted walk through that door in a summit in this room a year ago — one of his last public appearances. And it was hard for him to make it. But he was confident that we would do the right thing.”
Addressing the difficulties in getting this legislation to his desk, he said, “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. 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.”
You can watch the President’s remarks and see the signing in this White House video.
USA Today is reporting on a USA Today/Gallup Poll indicating that opinion is already shifting, with 49 percent of those surveyed saying that passing the bill was “a good thing” and 48 percent calling the bill “a good first step.”
The reconciliation “fix it” package still needs to move through the Senate.
It will take several years for all changes in the reform package to take place, but there are some changes we can expect this year. Among them:
- Tax credits to approximately four million small businesses to help cover the cost of insurance for employees.
- Parents of children with pre-existing conditions will be able to purchase coverage for them.
- Insurance companies will no longer be able to rescind policies when people get sick.
- Insurers will no longer be able to place lifetime limits or restrictive annual limits on care.
- All new insurance plans will be required to offer free preventive care.
- Young adults under age 26 will be able to stay on their parents’ policies.
- Seniors will begin to receive free preventive care without co-payments or deductibles, and those who fall into the doughnut hole will begin to receive assistance.
With benefits kicking in before the November elections, it’s going to be more difficult than ever to keep up the “armageddon” argument.
“History is made when a leader’s passion — passion — is matched with principle to set a new course.” – Vice President Joe Biden, March 23, 2010
You can read the entire text of the President’s remarks HERE.
Care 2 has been covering the events leading up to this historic signing, and we plan to stay on top of it. Here’s an aggregation of our health care coverage of late. Don’t forget to check back as we add more! Health Care Reform: What Did You Miss?