Obama signs $938 billion health overhaul

(AP) - A beaming President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed a historic $938 billion health care overhaul that guarantees coverage for 32 million uninsured Americans

WASHINGTON - (AP) - A beaming President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed a historic $938 billion health care overhaul that guarantees coverage for 32 million uninsured Americans and will touch nearly every citizen's life, presiding over the biggest shift in U.S. domestic policy since the 1960s and capping a divisive, yearlong debate that could define the November elections.

Celebrating "a new season in America" - the signature accomplishment of his White House so far and one denied to a line of presidents before him - Obama made the massive bill law with an East Room signing ceremony. He was joined by jubilant House and Senate Democrats as well as lesser-known people whose health care struggles have touched the president. Obama scheduled back-to-back events to mark the moment, with much of his White House audience, as well as hundreds of others, gathering at the Interior Department for Act II immediately after the signing.

"With all the punditry, all the lobbying, all the game-playing that passes for governing here 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," Obama said, his remarks interrupted by applause after nearly every sentence. "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."

The president's victory lap proceeded even as Congress labored to complete the overhaul with a companion measure making changes to the main bill that were a condition of House Democrats' approval. Debate on that bill, also passed Sunday by the House, could begin Tuesday in the Senate.

Not everyone was cheering the new law.

Attorneys general from 13 states filed suit to stop the overhaul just minutes after the bill signing, contending the law is unconstitutional. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum took the lead in the lawsuit, joined by colleagues from South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania, Alabama, South Dakota, Louisiana, Idaho, Washington and Colorado. Other GOP attorneys general may join the lawsuit later or sue separately.

In Washington, Republicans remained firm in their opposition to the giant remake of the nation's health system, declaring it much too costly and unlikely to produce the results that Obama claims. The Republicans pledged to see Democrats punished in this fall's elections for approving the legislation over deep public skepticism.

"By signing this bill, President Obama is abandoning our founding principle that government governs best when it governs closest to the people," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. "Never before has such a monumental change to our government been carried out without the support of both parties. This debate has fostered unprecedented division at a time when this nation needs to come together and address the serious challenges we face."

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

They say the speculators are buying homes and 1 Activists rally against gentrification in Cypress Hills, East NY
VIDEO: March to help seniors apply to college 2 VIDEO: March to help seniors apply to college
News 12 viewers discuss the widow of DA 3 The Buzz: Colon cancer
4 Money Matters: Self-employed retirement savings
A Bronx-based artist has opened a cash-optional, pop-up 5 Artist opens up cash-optional coffee shop in Williamsburg

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

Furry Friends is a weekly segment on News Furry Friends

Furry Friends is a weekly segment on News 12 Brooklyn nightside.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE