the president:good evening, everybody. tonight, after nearly 100 years of talk and frustration, after decadesof trying, and a year of sustained effort and debate, the united states congress finallydeclared that america's workers and america's families and america's small businesses deservethe security of knowing that here, in this country, neither illness nor accident shouldendanger the dreams they've worked a lifetime to achieve. tonight, at a time when the punditssaid it was no longer possible, we rose above the weight of our politics. we pushed backon the undue influence of special interests. we didn't give in to mistrust or to cynicismor to fear. instead, we proved that we are still a people capable of doing big thingsand tackling our biggest challenges. we proved
that this government -- a government of thepeople and by the people -- still works for the people. i want to thank every member ofcongress who stood up tonight with courage and conviction to make health care reforma reality. and i know this wasn't an easy vote for a lot of people. but it was the rightvote. i want to thank speaker nancy pelosi for her extraordinary leadership, and majorityleader steny hoyer and majority whip jim clyburn for their commitment to getting the job done.i want to thank my outstanding vice president, joe biden, and my wonderful secretary of healthand human services, kathleen sebelius, for their fantastic work on this issue. i wantto thank the many staffers in congress, and my own incredible staff in the white house,who have worked tirelessly over the past year
with americans of all walks of life to forgea reform package finally worthy of the people we were sent here to serve. today's voteanswers the dreams of so many who have fought for this reform. to every unsung americanwho took the time to sit down and write a letter or type out an e-mail hoping your voicewould be heard -- it has been heard tonight. to the untold numbers who knocked on doors andmade phone calls, who organized and mobilized out of a firm conviction that change in thiscountry comes not from the top down, but from the bottom up -- let me reaffirm that conviction:this moment is possible because of you. most importantly, today's vote answers the prayersof every american who has hoped deeply for something to be done about a health care systemthat works for insurance companies, but not
for ordinary people. for most americans, thisdebate has never been about abstractions, the fight between right and left, republicanand democrat -- it's always been about something far more personal. it's about every americanwho knows the shock of opening an envelope to see that their premiums just shot up againwhen times are already tough enough. it's about every parent who knows the desperationof trying to cover a child with a chronic illness only to be told "no" again andagain and again. it's about every small business owner forced to choose between insuringemployees and staying open for business. they are why we committed ourselves to this cause.tonight's vote is not a victory for any one party -- it's a victory for them. it'sa victory for the american people. and it's
a victory for common sense. now, it probablygoes without saying that tonight's vote will give rise to a frenzy of instant analysis.there will be tallies of washington winners and losers, predictions about what it meansfor democrats and republicans, for my poll numbers, for my administration. but long afterthe debate fades away and the prognostication fades away and the dust settles, what willremain standing is not the government-run system some feared, or the status quo thatserves the interests of the insurance industry, but a health care system that incorporatesideas from both parties -- a system that works better for the american people. if you havehealth insurance, this reform just gave you more control by reining in the worst excessesand abuses of the insurance industry with
some of the toughest consumer protectionsthis country has ever known -- so that you are actually getting what you pay for. ifyou don't have insurance, this reform gives you a chance to be a part of a big purchasingpool that will give you choice and competition and cheaper prices for insurance. and it includesthe largest health care tax cut for working families and small businesses in history -- so that if you lose your job and you change jobs, start that new business, you'll finallybe able to purchase quality, affordable care and the security and peace of mind that comeswith it. this reform is the right thing to do for our seniors. it makes medicare strongerand more solvent, extending its life by almost a decade. and it's the right thing to dofor our future. it will reduce our deficit
by more than $100 billion over the next decadeand more than $1 trillion in the decade after that. so this isn't radical reform. butit is major reform. this legislation will not fix everything that ails our health caresystem. but it moves us decisively in the right direction. this is what change lookslike. now as momentous as this day is, it's not the end of this journey. on tuesday, thesenate will take up revisions to this legislation that the house has embraced, and these arerevisions that have strengthened this law and removed provisions that had no place in it.some have predicted another siege of parliamentary maneuvering in order to delay adoption ofthese improvements. i hope that's not the case. it's time to bring this debate toa close and begin the hard work of implementing
this reform properly on behalf of the americanpeople. this year, and in years to come, we have a solemn responsibility to do it right.nor does this day represent the end of the work that faces our country. the work of revitalizingour economy goes on. the work of promoting private sector job creation goes on. the workof putting american families' dreams back within reach goes on. and we march on, withrenewed confidence, energized by this victory on their behalf. in the end, what this dayrepresents is another stone firmly laid in the foundation of the american dream. tonight,we answered the call of history as so many generations of americans have before us. whenfaced with crisis, we did not shrink from our challenge -- we overcame it. we did notavoid our responsibility -- we embraced it.
we did not fear our future -- we shaped it.thank you, god bless you, and may god bless the united states of america.