WASHINGTON-- President Obama signed the health care bill Tuesday morning, a historic accomplishment no matter what else happens in his term. Obama paid tribute to Congress by inviting all the members who voted for it to the signing ceremony--all Democrats, since no Republicans voted for the historic measure.
"The bill -- the bill I'm signing will set in motion reforms that generations of Americans have fought for and marched for and hungered to see. It will take four years to implement fully many of these reforms, because we need to implement them responsibly," Obama said at the White House.
Obama emphasized features of the bill that will kick in this year:
"This year, tens of thousands of uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions, the parents of children who have a pre-existing condition, will finally be able to purchase the coverage they need.That happens this year.
"This year -- this year, insurance companies will no longer be able to drop people's coverage, when they get sick -- or place -- they won't be able to place lifetime limits or restrictive annual limits on the amount of care they can receive.
"This year, this year, all new insurance plans will be required to offer free preventive care. And this year, young adults will be able to stay on their parents' policies until they are
26 years old," Obama said.
Notables at the White House: Sen. Dick Durbin. Sen. Roland Burris. All Illinois Democratic House members were invited, except Rep. Dan Lipinski who was the only Democratic no vote from Illinois.
Also...Caroline Kennedy and her son, Vicki Kennedy, the widow of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and Rep. Patrick Kennedy.