Members of the House of Representatives take photographs with their phones as President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Health Care for America Act during a ceremony Tuesday morning with fellow Democrats in the East Room of the White House. The landmark bill was passed by the House of Representatives Sunday after a 14-month-long political battle that left the legislation without a single Republican vote.
The President, introduced by Vice President Joe Biden (who dropped the f-word while congratulating him), dedicated signing the bill to a number of individuals who’ve been affected by inadequacies of the health care system, including his mother and 11-year-old Marcelas Owens, who lost his mother because she couldn’t afford insurance.
While many are celebrating this monumental achievement, of course there are some who are not thrilled about it at all. Fourteen state attorney generals (only one of which is not a Republican) have gone to court to block the health care bill, arguing that it violates the Constitution. According to their lawsuit: “The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage.” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, however, said that lawyers have advised the administration that it would win.
Following the bill signing, the President later spoke at the Department of Interior, where he explained a few misunderstandings about the bill:
I said this once or twice, but it bears repeating: If you like your current insurance, you will keep your current insurance. No government takeover; nobody is changing what you’ve got if you’re happy with it. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. In fact, more people will keep their doctors because your coverage will be more secure and more stable than it was before I signed this legislation.
And now that this legislation is passed, you don’t have to take my word for it. You’ll be able to see it in your own lives. I heard one of the Republican leaders say this was going to be Armageddon. Well, two months from now, six months from now, you can check it out. We’ll look around –- (laughter) — and we’ll see. (Applause.) You don’t have to take my word for it. (Applause.)
Additionally, The Christian Science Monitor has compiled a great guide to understanding just what the health reform bill means in plain English.