The Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments this week on the constitutionality of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Often called the signature accomplishment of the Obama administration, a good deal of the disagreement centers on the mandate coming in 2014 that Americans either buy health insurance or pay a penalty.
The court review of the law comes at an appropriate time - it is a presidential election year and the two political parties have vastly different views of the limits of governmental power.
The central question in the case before the court is: Does Congress have the power to compel citizens to purchase a product (in this case health insurance)?
The government argues it has the power under its stated ability to regulate interstate commerce. The reasoning is that everyone at some point or another will need the health care system, therefore, the federal government has the right to regulate it.
The counterpoint by the other side is that the government is creating commerce (requiring the purchase of insurance) in order to regulate it. Their lawyers ask what limit there is on federal powers if the government can compel the purchase of a product.
As Justice Anthony Kennedy asked Tuesday, "Can you create commerce in order to regulate it?"
A ruling from the court will probably come at the end of its session in June.
In any event, both Democrats and Republicans have a stake in the outcome of the case. The issue of the limit of the powers of the federal government is a central dividing point between the two parties.
Upholding the law will undoubtedly buoy Obama's chance for re-election. Striking it down will help the Republican challenger.
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