President Obama on Tuesday signed the Senate health reform bill (HR 3590) into law during a late-morning ceremony at the White House, the Washington Post reports.
He also is expected to attend a celebratory event at the Department of the Interior. Guests at the event will include physicians and nurses, citizens who would most directly benefit from the bill and certain members of Congress who aided its passage.
According to the Post, administration officials said the signing ceremony would be used to demonstrate the benefits of the reform bill, and are part of a newly launched public relations campaign to promote the overhaul.
Obama held the signing ceremony even though the Senate has not yet considered the so-called "corrections" bill (HR 4872) that would amend the overhaul legislation. The Senate is expected to begin debate on the corrections bill on Tuesday.
According to the Post, the president might be moving ahead in an effort to frame the event as a historic achievement rather than an extension of government influence in the health system.
Obama To Visit Iowa To Promote Reform
The president plans to visit Iowa City, Iowa, on Thursday as part of the continued public relations campaign for the legislation (Murray/Montgomery, Washington Post, 3/22). White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle said Iowa City is where Obama "first talked about health reform and his commitment to getting it done."
A White House official said Obama would "discuss how health insurance reform lowers costs for small businesses and American families and gives them more control over their health care" (Lee/Marr, Politico, 3/23).
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs added that similar trips are planned in the coming months (Muskal, "The Swamp," Chicago Tribune, 3/22).