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The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s reform law in March 2012.Opponents of the law would challenge the requirement that all Americans compulsorily buy health insurance, calling it an overreach of the federal power.
Background: The Affordable Care Act was passed into law in 2010 and it aims to extend insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans, through an expansion of Medicaid. The individual mandate clause which requires all Americans to buy health insurance will go into effect on 2014. Defaulters will have to pay a penalty.
Hearing: A total of five-and-a half hours of argument time have been planned for back-to-back hearings. This is the longest time given to a hearing in the Supreme Court history.
The court would decide the fate of the clause in question and decide if only the clause or the entire law should be scrapped. The White House, however, says that it was "confident" the law was constitutional: "We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree," said White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer.
The ruling is expected to come by June 2012, only four months before the US presidential election.