Just two months after his health care reform plan looked all but dead, Mr. Obama was reveling in victory shortly before midnight Sunday night.
"This legislation will not fix everything that ails our health care system, but it moves us decisively in the right direction," the president said.
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The change though will be phased in gradually over a period of years. With only 37 percent of Americans approving of the plan , Democrats scheduled the most popular provisions to go into effect this year.
Those components include:
• cracking down on insurance companies
• banning cancellation when someone gets sick
• banning coverage denials for children due to pre-existing conditions
• allowing children up to age 26 to remain on their parents' polices
• issuing subsidies for small businesses to help insure their workers
• rebating seniors for up to $250 if they exceed their Medicare prescription drug benefits
Next year, the drug coverage gap known as the doughnut hole will begin to be phased out altogether.
"This isn't radical reform, but it is major reform," are the words the president used to describe the bill Sunday night but much of the pain in the Democrats' plan is saved for later years.
In 2013, taxes will rise for couples making more than $250,000 a year and for individuals making above $200,000.
Not until 2014 do many of the plan's major provisions go into effect.
That's when Medicaid will expand to cover about 16 million low-income Americans. Those Americans still uninsured will be required to buy coverage on new state-run insurance exchanges. Some will get tax credits to help pay for it, but those who remain uncovered will have to pay a penalty.
So, too, will small businesses with more than 50 employees that don't provide coverage.
Despite on health reform, the CBS News poll shows 54 percent of Americans are still confused, which means the president . It won't be easy.
"The more he has talked about it, the more unpopular the legislation has become," said CBS News political analyst John Dickerson. "Now that it has passed, we will get a test of the president's ability to persuade and convince people."
The president will begin his new sales campaign with a speech at the White House Tuesday . On Thursday, he'll go to Iowa, where he as a presidential candidate almost three years ago.
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