Passage of historic health reform proves “we are still a people capable of doing big things,” President Barack Obama said shortly after the Democratic-controlled House handed him a victory on his signature legislation late Sunday night.
“I know this wasn't any easy vote for a lot of people, but it was the right vote,” the president said from the White House East Room just before midnight, with Vice President Joe Biden at his side. “This is what change looks like.”
Obama defended the reform package as an end to the status quo, but not the beginning of government-run healthcare. “This isn't radical reform, but it is major reform,” he said. He cited an end to insurance denials for pre-existing conditions and stronger consumer protections as examples of provisions in the reform package that would benefit ordinary Americans. He called it a victory for all Americans and also “a victory for common sense.”
Obama is expected to sign the Senate health reform bill soon. Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to take up on Tuesday the House's reconciliation bill to change some aspects of the original Senate bill.