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Supreme Court Begins Review of Affordable Care Act
Date:3/26/2012

adding, "I find it hard to think this is clear, whatever else it is," the newspaper reported.

Attorneys for both the Obama administration and challengers to the law were united on one issue Monday -- the Supreme Court could hear the case now, The New York Times reported.

The key sticking point in the constitutional challenge is whether Congress exceeded its authority with the 2010 health-care law's so-called "individual mandate," which requires almost all adult Americans to maintain health insurance or risk a financial penalty.

The individual mandate -- scheduled to take effect in January 2014 -- is the pivotal piece of the law.

"The requirement that people purchase insurance is the key to having health insurance be there for everyone when they need it," said John Rother, president of the National Coalition on Health Care, which works to achieve reform of the U.S. health-care system.

Opponents call the mandate a stunning government intrusion into the private lives of Americans and argue that Congress has no right to tell an individual to buy a certain product.

Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, a conservative public policy group, and a critic of the new law, was heartened that the High Court agreed to hear challenges to the legislation.

"This case is before the Supreme Court in record time. Two years from the law being enacted to the case being heard is really remarkable," Turner said. "And you have 26 states -- the majority of states -- challenging the law."

The Supreme Court will also hear arguments this week on whether the law is unconstitutional for requiring states to either comply with an expansion of Medicaid to cover more lower-income people without health insurance, or lose federal matching funding. At issue is the concept of "federalism," the division of powers between the federal and state governments.

Finally, the court will address "severability" -- that is, whether the
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