24 Mar 2010

Obama signs landmark healthcare bill into law

2:36 pm on 24 March 2010

United States President Barack Obama has signed his landmark healthcare bill into law at a ceremony at the White House.

The new law will eventually extend health insurance cover to about 32 million Americans who currently do not have any.

The bill is strongly opposed by the opposition Republicans who regard it as too costly and say they will repeal it.

Mr Obama will now embark on a publicity campaign that he and his fellow Democrats hope will overcome widespread public doubts and confusion about the plan.

After a heated debate, the House of Representatives voted 219-212 late on Sunday to send the 10-year, $US938 billion bill to Mr Obama. Not one Republican voted for the bill, and some Democrats also voted against it, the BBC reports.

The measure, which the Senate passed in December, is expected to expand health insurance coverage to about 95% of eligible Americans, compared with the 83% covered today.