Washington (CNN) — President Obama signed sweeping health care reform legislation into law at the White House on Tuesday.
Greeted by applause from enthusiastic supporters, he said, “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.”
Text continues after gallery …
The president said he is confident the Senate will improve the health care reform law swiftly. He said some health care reforms will take some time to phase in, but others will “take effect right away.”
Obama said Tuesday that under provisions of the health care legislation that will take effect this year, small businesses will receive tax credits to help cover insurance, insurance companies won’t be able to drop people’s coverage when they get sick, and uninsured Americans and parents of children with pre-existing conditions will be able to purchase coverage.
He said he signed the health reform bill into law on behalf of several people, including his mother — “who argued with insurance companies even as she battled cancer in her final days.” He praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional committee chairs, saying, “We are blessed by leaders in each chamber who not only do their jobs very well, but who never lost sight of the larger mission. They didn’t play for the short term. They didn’t play to the polls or the politics.”
Vice President Joe Biden, praising Obama’s leadership in forging health care reform legislation, said, “Mr. President, you’ve done what generations of not just ordinary, but great men and women have attempted to do. … You delivered on a promise, a promise you made to all Americans when we moved into this building,” the White House.