The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will review the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature domestic legislative achievement. Arguments will be heard in March and a ruling could come in June, in the middle of the 2012 presidential election cycle.
The health care reform law requires virtually all individuals to purchase health insurance coverage by 2014 or face a tax penalty; the law also and expands Medicaid, which provides care for low-income people. A group of 26 states have challenged the law, arguing that the individual mandate exceeds federal authority. Two federal appeals courts have upheld the mandate and a third has declared it unconstitutional.
The White House issued a statement after the high court announced its decision, saying that the administration is “pleased” that it has agreed to hear the case.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, one million more young Americans have health insurance, women are getting mammograms and preventive services without paying an extra penny out of their own pocket and insurance companies have to spend more of your premiums on health care instead of advertising and bonuses,” said communications director Dan Pfeiffer. “We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree.”
In addition to being the most important case the court will have heard in the past 10 years, it has allocated an unprecendented five-and-a-half hours to hear arguments.
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