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Obama signs health care reform bill into law

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed into law [transcript of remarks] a bill to significantly alter the US health care system. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [HR 3590 materials] was presented to the president on Monday after being passed [JURIST report] by the House of Representatives by a margin of 219-212 on Sunday. The new law will prohibit insurance providers from denying coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions and dropping individuals from insurance plans because of illness, and will require all insurance providers to provide a rationale for proposed increases in premiums. Prior to signing the bill, Obama made a series of remarks, paying homage to the individuals past and present who had worked for reform in the health care system.

In remarks [transcript] made at the Department of the Interior after signing the bill, Obama indicated that many of the provisions will require several years before they are fully implemented, though some, such as the prohibition on excluding children for pre-existing conditions, will take effect immediately.

The passage of the health care reform bill has been extremely controversial. The same day that the bill was signed into law, the attorneys general (AGs) for 13 states filed suit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the new law [JURIST report]. Last week, the Idaho Governor CL Otter, signed into law [JURIST report] a bill banning a federal mandate that citizens purchase health insurance. Earlier in March, the Virginia legislature passed a similar bill [JURIST report], that Governor Bob McDonald has indicated he will sign. The AGs who filed suit Tuesday originally threatened the action in December, after the Senate passed its version [JURIST reports] of the health care overhaul bill.

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