US President Barack Obama yesterday entrenched his position in American history by signing a sweeping healthcare reform bill, in the teeth of stiff Republican opposition
After several months of heated debates, the US Senate had in December given its approval to the bill that aims to extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans, which the House of Representatives passed on Sunday night on a completely party-line vote (See: Obama triumphs as Senate approves health care bill.) and (See: US Congress clears landmark health care reform bill).
Before signing the bill, the president addressed a group of House and Senate Democrats who backed the bill as well as the public who gathered at the White House.
''Today after almost a century of trial, 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,'' said Obama.
''It is fitting that Congress passed this historic legislation this week for as we mark the turning of spring, we also mark a new season in America,'' he added.
The president once again boasted of the benefits that this legislation will bring to the ordinary people starting this year, including providing tax credits to help small businesses get and keep coverage for their employees; prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to children because of pre-existing medical conditions; barring insurance companies from dropping coverage when people get sick or putting lifetime limits on coverage.
However, the Republicans are still fighting back with threats of lawsuits and heated rhetoric, charging that the bill is unconstitutional.