Before the signing ceremony today, Vicki Kennedy gave Obama a plastic blue bracelet that said "TedStrong." The president and several lawmakers were seen wearing the bracelet. The late senator's son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., gave the president a copy of the first universal health care bill that his father introduced in the Senate.
But even while there was jubilation at the White House, Republicans promised a tough fight ahead. The Republican National Committee's "Fire Nancy Pelosi" Web site surpassed $1 million in funds raised since the health care legislation passed Sunday evening. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin unveiled a list of 17 Democratic members of Congress who she wants to target in the upcoming mid-term elections.
"We're going to reclaim the power of the people from those who disregarded the will of the people. We're going to fire them and send them back to the private sector, which has been shrinking thanks to their destructive government-growing policies," Palin wrote in an e-mail to supporters seeking to raise money.
On radio and television, conservative commentators lashed out at the lawmakers who passed the legislation.
On his radio program, Rush Limbaugh said, "We need to defeat these bastards. We need to wipe them out."
Glen Beck said, "This bill is still jammed down the throats of America, just enough spiny, dirty weasels went along with it."
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who voted 'yes' on the legislation, became a target. Her office in Arizona was vandalized over night.
In Florida, Bill McCollum became the first of 14 state attorney generals to file a lawsuit against the health care law. The states' attorney general are filing suits to block the health care law on the grounds that its requirement that everyone have health insurance is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit is "about forcing people to buy health insurance when there's no provision in the Constitution that allows for anybody to be forced to do something when there's no commerce, no action, you're just sitting there," said McCollum. "And it's about the question of forcing the state of Florida and other states against the sovereignty that's guaranteed in the Constitution to our states to do things that are practically impossible to do."
Four state legislatures have already passed laws blocking the bill. On Wednesday, Virginia's GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell will sign the bill into the state's law, making it illegal for the federal government to require Americans to purchase health insurance.
Proponents of the legislation say the health care bill will impact all Americans positively, even those who currently have health insurance.
"I think every American is going to have a more secure relationship with their insurance companies as a result of this because there are a series of protections that will be implemented over time that are important to people," White House senior adviser David Axelrod said on "Good Morning America" today.
Even though the health care bill became law today, the White House's work on it is far from over. The next phase is to sell the changes to the American people, many of whom are still in the dark about what the bill means for them.