[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/03/23/health.care.main/c1main.obamawavebill.gi.jpg caption=" President Obama signed sweeping health care reform legislation into law Tuesday at the White House." width=300 height=169]
With a stroke of 22 pens, Pres. Obama signed the health care bill into law today. Most of the pens were given away as mementos. Though, two are now part of the National Archives.
"That our generation is able to succeed in passing this reform is a testament to the persistence and the character of the American people who championed this cause, who mobilized, who organized, who believed that people who love this country can change it," Pres. Obama said at the White House. "It's also a testament to the historic leadership and uncommon courage of the men and women of the United States Congress who've taken their lumps during this difficult debate," he added in direct reference to the more than 200 Democratic lawmakers at today’s ceremony.
That’s when Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, shouted "Yes, we did!" - a play on Mr. Obama's campaign slogan of "Yes we can." At that point, there were a lot of laughs.
A light-hearted moment, but back on Capitol Hill there's heated debate in the Senate over the package of so-called "fixes." Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas had a message for Pres. Obama.
"He's going to take a victory lap on a bill the American people don't want because they know we can't afford it," he said.
Is the fight about what's best for Americans or pure politics? CNN's Dana Bash is keeping them honest.
We'll also give you an up close look at how the new legislation affects three families - working class, middle class and wealthy. Tom Foreman's report may give you a sense of how the new law will affect your life.
With health care in the headlines, we'll also bring you our new series "Kids in Peril: Obesity in America." 360's Randi Kaye will introduce you to 14-year-old Maria Caprigno, who's been battling a weight problem most of her life. At age 4 she weighed 79 pounds, as much as a 7 year old. By the time she was 7, she was 168 pounds. At 9, she weighed 250. At 14, she topped out at 445 pounds. See how she's fighting to slim down.
Maria is not alone. According to the CDC, teen obesity rates have tripled since 1980. One third of America's youth is overweight.
For tonight's shot, see how a family dog helped a newborn baby. To some people, this pooch could be a star on "American Idol."
Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 P.M. ET. See you then.
The health care battle shifts back to the Senate. Will the GOP block the "fixes"? Plus, crime and punishment and the war next door. Seven bodies found in just four hours. Dozens found weekly. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid a visit to Mexico today and talked about the violence. We'll have details.
Want to know what else we're covering? Read EVENING BUZZ
Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.
Here are some of them:
1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)
Program Note: Don't miss Randi Kaye's full report on one teenager's struggle with obesity tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET. Maria's story is the first in a three-part series taking a look at childhood obesity, airing this week on AC360°.
Teenager Maria Caprigno has been overweight since she was about three years old, but now she wants to change that. See a gallery of Maria starting as an adorable 3-month-old tot, all the way up to 13-year-old teenager.
Maria at 3 months. FULL POST
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/23/art.falcon.evans.hampton.jpg caption="Philander Hampton and Lee Evans have been charged with five counts of murder and arson."]
One of the most infamous and baffling cold case mysteries in New Jersey history has been solved with the arrests of two men in connection with the 1978 disappearance of five teenage boys, authorities said today.
“For years their families wondered what happened on that August day. Today, we believe, that question has been answered,” Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert Laurino said in a statement.
The suspects, Lee Anthony Evans, 56, of Irvington, and Philander Hampton, 53, of Jersey City, have been charged with five counts of murder and arson. Bail for both men has been set at $5 million. They will be arraigned tomorrow morning in Newark.
The arrests were announced by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Newark Police Department, and the New Jersey Police Department.
The mystery, which has haunted the city for decades, began on a summer day nearly 32 years ago. “No case in the last 30 years has hung over the hearts and minds of our community more than this one,” Newark Mayor Cory Booker said in a statement.
On August 8, 1978, Randy Johnson, 16, Melvin Pittman, 17, Ernest Taylor, 17, Alvin Turner, 16, and Michael McDowell, 16, were playing basketball in Newark before going home for dinner. The boys then went out again and were last seen going into a pickup truck owned by Evans who had offered them part-time work, Laurino said. FULL POST
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (C) has a laugh during a news conference after the House passed health care reform legislation at the U.S. Capitol March 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. The House passed the Senate's version of the health care bill by a vote of 220-211 and without a single Republican vote.
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
Beat 360° Winners:
"I just KNEW we could pass this bill without the Botax in it!"
Charlotte Bruner, Scurry, TX
"all for the health care bill say ahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!"
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/22/art.capitol.dome.cnn.jpg caption="Republicans are attacking the bill as ferociously as they did before it passed, Jay Newton-Small says."]
Reporters leaving Capitol Hill in the wee hours of Monday morning were, for the most part, heaving sighs of relief: health care reform had – finally! - passed, a vote for the history books. However imperfect, the deed was done, the fat lady had sung. A day later and Republicans seem not to have gotten the memo: they are attacking the bill as ferociously as they did before it passed. Repeal it, they're saying; strike it down in the courts; and in the Senate, the reconciliation fixes may die a death of a thousand amendments.
Health care reform has been a rich vein for the GOP. Think back to the August town hall meetings and Sarah Palin's death panels. Indeed, polls show the bill is incredibly unpopular – which is why Dems are more than happy to move on to jobs, the economy, and more jobs. But, keeping the bill in the forefront of news doesn't come without risk to the GOP. Here are five reasons this could be a losing argument for Republicans:
1. What happens when, as President Obama put it to the Democratic House Caucus on Saturday, “lo and behold nobody is pulling the plug on granny”?
The way many protestors (and some Republicans) were talking over the weekend you'd think passage of the bill represented an end of days: better stock up on canned goods because communism is a hair's breadth away. “If we pass this bill, there will be no turning back,” Minority Leader John Boehner thundered on the House floor just before the vote. “It will be the last straw for the American people.”
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/23/vert.maria.13years.jpg caption="14-year-old Maria Caprigno has decided she doesn't want to be overweight anymore. She just wants 'to be normal.'" width=292 height=320]
Program Note: Don't miss Randi Kaye's full report on one teenager's struggle with obesity tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET. Maria's story is the first in a three-part series taking a look at childhood obesity, airing this week on AC360°
Randi Kaye | BIO
One third of America’s youth is now overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
In Norwood, Massachusetts, teenager Maria Caprigno no longer wants to be one of those statistics.
Maria has been overweight since she was about three years old. Her mother, Terrie Caprigno, says pediatricians told her Maria was “off the charts.” But as the years passed, Maria just kept getting heavier. Why? She told CNN, “I think it’s my eating habits first of all. I’m a junk food person and because I’m a couch potato I don’t like to get off the couch … it’s also kind of just like my genes … both my parents are heavy and that’s just the environment I was raised in.”
The CDC says obesity rates for Maria’s age group, those twelve to nineteen years old, have tripled since 1980.
Maria, trying to reverse the trend and slim down, began researching weight loss surgery when she was just eleven. She was already pushing 400 pounds. Maria told CNN people have stared at her all her life because of her weight.
“The first thing that goes through their mind is, why is she so fat? And oh my god she’s so fat. Why doesn’t she just hop on a treadmill? And I think people don’t really understand that it’s not just exercising,.. it’s extremely hard. I get self conscious. I don’t like to go to crowded places like if a malls crowded, I’ll sit in the car.”
So Maria pleaded with her mother to find a doctor who would perform weight loss surgery on teenagers. Between 2000 and 2003, some of the latest data on record, about 800 teenagers went under the knife to lose weight. FULL POST
Erica Mohamed, 31, is glad that the new bill would help her son to get insurance coverage even if she loses her job.
Elizabeth Landau and Madison Park
About 32 million Americans who don't have health insurance will get access to coverage when the $940 billion health care plan takes effect.
What does that mean for Americans who don't have insurance, or who are in danger of losing it? A few shared their thoughts with CNN about health care reform and how it affects them. Then we sought expert opinions on how reform might really work in their lives.
1. Child with pre-existing condition
The situation: Erica Mohamed, 31, of Houston, Texas, is separated, and has a 6-year-old son, Jeremiah, with a rare congenital heart disease called Tetralogy of Fallot. He has had three open-heart surgeries already, and will need to have another procedure to remove a stent in early adolescence. Mohamed's job, through which she gets insurance, is not secure. Mohamed's mother, Vera Richardson, wrote to CNN's iReport about the situation.
Mohamed says: She is glad that she will be able to keep her insurance for her son even if she loses her job. "Did I get everything that I thought that I wanted in this bill? No, not at all because I still think we need at least a public option. But at least it's something, at least it's moving forward, and it's going to get more coverage to more people," she said.
Expert says: Effective this year, in six months, children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied health care, said Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, an independent organization that researches health policy issues. By 2014, children will be covered up to 133 percent of the the federal poverty level. For a family of two, the poverty level is $14,570 in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia.