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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Affordable Health Care America Act Signed Today

Doug Mills/The New York Times

"We have just now 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," President Obama declared.

A big day in Washington D.C. and a monumental day for the nation, as we move forward towards affordable health care and the removal of pre-existing conditions which, for years, has kept millions of people uninsured. Today, Obama, armed with pen, signed his health care overhaul; this bill is, perhaps, the biggest act of social legislation in decades. Obama used twenty pens in the signing of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, which he planned to pass out as tokens to key lawmakers. The Affordable Health Care Act has been a dream for many politicians for 40 years, starting with the late Senator Ted Kennedy in 1970 when he introduced the idea to provide national health insurance. In the audience, Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island (perhaps one of the most important players in the quest for this health bill), held his father's original bill from 1970 which he gifted to Obama with a personal message inside.

Passed by the House on Sunday night by a vote of 219-212, the bill will provide coverage to the estimated 30 million people who do not have it, as well as:

  • require most Americans to have health insurance coverage
  • add 16 million people to the Medicaid rolls
  • would subsidize private coverage for low- and middle-income people
  • cost the government about $938 billion over 10 years
  • estimated that the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion over a decade

The battle is far from over and there will be many who are not happy about the signing of this bill. There are always two sides to every argument and there will be a lot more said about this subject before any recognizable changes can be seen within our health care system. No longer will Americans be disenfranchised regarding their health care. In the recovery community countless people will be able to get health insurance for the first time. This bill will have lasting effects perhaps unlike anything seen since the 30's regarding social legislation. We will be following this story.

"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." -President Obama-

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