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After passing the historic but yet still controversial Health Care Reform bill, President Obama is making sure to keep his promise to ensure that federal government funds would not be used to pay for elective abortion procedures.

According to the Associated Press, the ceremonial signing occurred in the Oval Office in the presence of a small group of anti-abortion Democratic lawmakers who had extracted the commitment over the weekend. The amendment stipulates that individuals who receive federal subsidies to purchase insurance may purchase abortion coverage, but must do so by writing a separate check from personal funds. Obama’s executive order commits the administration to issuing regulations making sure that personal and federal funds are kept separate.

Obama, who openly supports abortion rights, issued the executive order as Senate Democrats drove toward final passage of a second health care bill, drafted to supplement the first by enhancing benefits for seniors with high prescription drug costs and for lower-to-middle income families who cannot afford the cost of insurance.

The principal of the new law would expand health care to 32 million who lack it while cracking down on the insurance industry and cutting federal deficits by an estimated $138 billion over a decade. Most of the estimated $940 billion cost of the bill would pay for assistance to help families with annual incomes of up to $88,000 pay for insurance, although small businesses would also receive subsidies as in incentive to offer coverage to their employees.

The two bills combined call for nearly $1 trillion in higher taxes and Medicare cuts over 10 years, provisions that sparked strong opposition from congressional Republicans who voted against the bill.

The higher taxes coupled with Americans being required to purchase insurance, or face penalties if they refused is at the heart of the debate amongst many Americans both right and left wing a like; as many are citing the “must have” stipulation as unconstitutional.

In addition to Health Care, the President also signed the second bill on domestic policy, which stripped banks and other private insurers of their ability to originate loans for students allowing direct government lending. The bill which passed the House on Sunday appeared in the Senate with as many as 57 votes in hand for its approval.

The government’s savings would raise the maximum amount needy students could receive in Pell Grants, and pump about $2.6 billion over a decade into historically black and Hispanic colleges adversely affecting lending giants Sallie Mae as well as large financial institutions such as Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America which could result in the loss of billions in revenue.

Obama’s participation as president would be contingent on his getting re-elected in 2012, since the exchanges won’t be up and running until 2014.

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