Claiming a historic triumph that could define his presidency, a jubilant Barack Obama signed a massive, nearly $1 trillion health care overhaul on Tuesday that will for the first time cement insurance coverage as the right of every U.S. citizen and begin to reshape the way virtually all Americans receive and pay for treatment.
After more than a year of hyperpartisan struggle — and numerous near-death moments for the measure — Obama declared “a new season in America” as he sealed a victory denied to a line of presidents stretching back more than half a century. Democratic lawmakers cheered him on, giving the White House signing ceremony a rally-like atmosphere as they shouted and snapped photos with pocket cameras or cell phones.
Not everyone was cheering. The Democrats pushed the bill through Congress without GOP support, and the Republicans said Tuesday that those Democratic lawmakers would pay dearly in this November’s elections. Opinion polls show the public remains skeptical, too, and Obama will fly to Iowa on Thursday for the first of a number of appearances that will be more like a continuing sales job than a victory lap.
Aside from the huge, real-life changes in store for many Americans, the White House hopes the victory — even as a companion Senate “fix-it” bill moves through the Senate — will revitalize an Obama presidency that has been all but preoccupied with health care for his first year and two months in office. Vice President Joe Biden was caught whispering a profanity as he exclaimed to the president what a big deal it was.
Indeed, the reshaping of one-sixth of the U.S. economy, to be phased in over several years, ranks among the biggest changes ever devised by Washington. That was a main complaint from Republicans who characterize the measure as a costly, wrongheaded government power grab. Obama and the Democrats portray it as literally a lifesaver for countless Americans.
The core of the massive law is the extension of health care coverage to 32 million who now lack it, a goal to be achieved through a complex cocktail of new mandates for individuals and employers, subsidies for people who can’t afford to buy coverage on their own, consumer-friendly rules clamped on insurers, tax breaks, and marketplaces to shop for health plans.
The law’s most far-reaching changes don’t kick in until 2014, including a requirement that most Americans carry health insurance — whether through an employer, a government program or their own purchase — or pay a fine. To make that a reality, tax credits to help cover the cost of premiums will start flowing to middle-class families and Medicaid will be expanded to cover more low-income people. Insurers would no longer be allowed to deny coverage to people with health problems. …
via It’s the law of the land: Health overhaul signed – Yahoo! News.
We don’t have a health care crisis so much as a health crisis… we don’t exercise, we don’t get enough sleep, we stress each other out, and we eat junk … but I’m hopeful this national health overhaul will lead to more preventative care.
Increased physical health improves mental health, happiness and productivity.