Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • The healthcare bill took 13 months to pass through congress
  • Democrats passed the bill with a slim majority
  • The healthcare bill was passed into law during March 2010
  • Florida and 25 states challenged the constitutionality of the law
  • Supreme Court ruled the ACA to be constitutional in June 2012

The actual name for the Obama healthcare bill is the Affordable Care Act. The bill was officially signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. If you want to know more about when the healthcare bill was passed, review how the events occurred over time.

Don’t want Obamacare? Skip the Marketplace and buy a private health insurance plan. Start by comparing free quotes in the zip code search box above!

Introducing Healthcare Reform


On Feb. 24, 2009, President Obama addressed Congress in a joint session, proclaiming that health care could not wait another year for them to pass. Within the first week of March, the White House was holding Obama’s first health care summit. On April 21, the Senate Finance Committee Chairman and Ranking Member began roundtable discussions with industry experts on health policy and legislation.

On April 21, the Senate Finance Committee Chairman and Ranking Member began roundtable discussions with industry experts on health policy and legislation.

On July 15, the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in the Senate passed the Affordable Care Act. The month-long markup for the bill was one of the longest ever in congressional history. Over 160 Republican amendments were accepted on the bipartisan bill during this time.

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Healthcare Reform Faces Headwinds


By the end of the month, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce reported out the bill with a 31 to 28 vote. President Obama spent the recess in mid-August traveling to support the healthcare bill and combat false rumors about death panels. Conservatives and Tea Party members vehemently oppose the healthcare bill at their local town halls.

Weeks later, one of the leading advocates for the bill, Sen. Ted Kennedy passes away, endangering Democrats supermajority of 60 seats. By the end of September, the Senate Finance Committee had eliminated a pair of amendments for a government-run health insurance option.

In mid-October, the Senate Finance Committee approved the America Healthy Future Act, a bi-partisan bill headed by Chairman Baucus.

Democrats Pass Healthcare Reform

On Nov. 7, the House of Representatives passed a similar version of the bill with a vote of 220 to 215. On Dec. 19, reports indicate that the 60th vote to pass the Senate’s version of the bill will come from conservative Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson. The health care bill is passed in the Senate five days later on Dec. 24, with a vote 60 to 39.

Healthcare Bill in Danger


By mid-January, Obama is throwing support to a Massachusetts Senate race in danger of losing Kennedy’s seat to a Republican opposed to the bill. Two days later, Republican Senator Scott Brown wins the race, placing democratic efforts at risk. On Feb. 25, 2010, Obama televises a summit with both party leaders explaining the proposed health care bill.

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Democrats Maneuver for Majority Vote

On March 11, Majority Leader Reid sent Minority Leader McConnell, stating that Democrats would be invoking “reconciliation”, so only 51 votes would be needed to pass the bill. Senate passed its version of the bill and sent it to the President for his signature on March 21. On March 23, President Obama signed the health care bill into law.

GOP Challenges the ACA in Court


By Aug. 12, 2011, certain parts of the new health care law were ruled as unconstitutional by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. On Nov. 8, the health care law was ruled as constitutional by U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. However, on Nov. 14, the chief justices agree to preside over a legal challenge to the health care law after Florida and 25 other states petitioned the highest court.

Supreme Court Rules for ACA

Starting on March 26, 2012, three days of oral arguments concerning the constitutionality of the health care law were held before the Supreme Court. On June 28, the Supreme Court issued its ruling. The Supreme Court ruled that with the taxing clause, Congress had the power to uphold individual mandate provisions on the health care law.

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X-Factors in the ACA Timeline


The ACA was primarily passed as a result of the House of Representatives becoming Democratic 257 to 199 in the November 2008 elections. The two parties were tied in the Senate headed into the election, but the Democrats realized a 57 to 41 majority thereafter.

Democrats reached a safe majority on April 28, 2009, when Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Spector switched parties.

The victory by Scott Brown in Massuchsets was a surprise since the state hadn’t elected a republican in nearly 40 years. He won the special election by 110,000 votes, taking away the powerful 60th Senate vote previously held by Democrats. However, the House voting 219 to 212 in favor of the Senate-approved bill is what ultimately allowed Obama to sign the ACA into law.

With so much time passing and so much misinformation running rampant, it’s easy to forget exactly how laws like the ACA come into place. There were a number of unexpected twists, turns and moving pieces involved with signing healthcare reform into law.

Ultimately, President Obama and the Democratic congress passed the healthcare bill into law during the third week of March 2010.