US high court weighs historic Obama healthcare law

By REUTERS
March 26, 2012 06:18

WASHINGTON - Two years after US President Barack Obama signed into law a healthcare overhaul, the US Supreme Court on Monday takes up a historic test of whether it is valid under the country's Constitution.

The sweeping law intended to transform healthcare for millions of people in the United States has generated fierce political debate. Republicans challenging Democrat Obama for the presidency in November and Republican members of Congress have vowed to roll back the March 23, 2010, law they say will financially burden states, businesses and individuals.

Now, the healthcare battle moves from the US political arena to the less raucous world of its highest court.

At the law's core is the requirement that most people buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty. Challengers, including 26 of the 50 states, say Congress exceeded its constitutional power to regulate commerce with this so-called individual mandate.


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