Barack Obama has signed his revolutionary healthcare reform bill into law at the White House.
Standing alongside his Vice-President Joe Biden, Obama evoked his own family to explain one reason why he championed the legislation.
“Today, I am signing this reform bill on behalf of my mother, who argued with insurance companies even as she battled cancer in her final days,” he said.
The biggest change to the system in decades, the reform will extend health coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans. Hailing those who helped get it through Congress despite many obstacles, Obama said the measure made economic sense, too.
“This legislation will also lower costs for families and businesses and for the federal government, reducing our deficit by over one trillion dollars in the next two decades. It is paid for, it is fiscally responsible, and it will help lift a decades long drag on our economy,” he said.
Getting the bill through fulfills a goal that eluded many of Obama’s predecessors, most recently Bill Clinton.
He used an unusually large number of pens, 20, to sign it. They will be distributed as souvenirs.
But Republicans remain bitterly opposed to the measure. And, just minutes after the reform was made law, more than a dozen US states filed a lawsuit against it.