U.S. President Barack Obama has signed the final piece of his health care overhaul into law. The new bill makes the government the sole issuer of federal student loans, cutting out banks and other private lenders and shutting down a multibillion dollar loan industry. “Courage is an essential ingredient in any landmark legislation, particularly when the attacks are as fierce and unrelenting and inaccurate as they have been over the past year,” Obama said to the audience at Northern Virginia Community College, where he signed the bill. “[This] represents a major step forward.” His administration says the change, which piggybacks on fixes to health care legislation already signed by the president, will save Americans $68 billion over ten years. That money will then be used to expand a government student grant program. The bill also puts a cap on loan repayments at 10 percent of students’ income, creates more spending for community colleges and gives an additional $2.55 billion to historically black colleges and universities. Some Democrats and most Republicans opposed the bill, claiming it will destroy thousands of jobs in the private lending industry and cut lending options for students.
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