WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's landmark health care overhaul appears headed for a Supreme Court ruling as the presidential election season hits full stride in the coming year.
The health care law affecting virtually every American is sure to figure prominently in President Barack Obama's campaign for re-election. Republican contenders are already assailing it in virtually every debate and speech.
The administration on Wednesday formally appealed a ruling by the federal appeals court in Atlanta that struck down the law's core requirement that Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty beginning in 2014. The administration said the appeals court decision declaring the law's central provision unconstitutional was "fundamentally flawed."
At the same time, however, the winners in that appellate case, 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business, also asked for high court review Wednesday, saying the entire law, and not just the individual insurance mandate, should be struck down.
The Supreme Court almost always weighs in when a lower court has struck down all or part of a federal law, to say nothing of one that aims to extend insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans.
The bigger question had been the timing.
The administration's filing makes it more likely that the case will be heard and decided in the term that begins next week.
Repeating arguments it has made in courts across the country in response to many challenges to the law, the administration said Congress was well within its constitutional power to enact the insurance requirement.
Disagreeing with that, the 26 states and the business group said in their filings that the justices should act before the 2012 presidential election because of uncertainty over costs and requirements.