“My colleagues are celebrating the birth of a great new entitlement program,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). “Only they see dependency on the federal government and the death of freedom as a cause for celebration. Freedom dies a little bit today.”

In a press release issued last week, American Medical Association President J. James Rohack, MD, said that by extending health insurance to millions more Americans, the bill passed by the House “will help patients and the physicians who care for them.”

“Every day physicians see the devastating effect being uninsured has on the health of our patients,” Dr. Rohack said. “Physicians dedicate their lives to helping patients, and we have an historic opportunity now to do just that.”

Similarly, Lori Heim, MD, the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, hailed the bill’s passage in a written statement. “As a result of today’s vote, Americans can look forward to health security because they soon will have the chance to buy health insurance that meets their needs without emptying their bank accounts,” Dr. Heim stated.

Both Dr. Heim and Dr. Rohack said that their societies will continue to work with Congress on what they see as the unfinished business of healthcare reform, particularly medical liability reform and a permanent solution to the problematic formula for setting Medicare reimbursement for physicians, which calls for a 21.2% pay cut this year.