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Supreme Court to Hear Health Care Reform Arguments in March

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in March about the health care overhaul, setting up an election year showdown. The decision to hear arguments in the spring allows plenty of time for a decision in late June, just over four months before Election Day.

The health care case could be the high court’s most significant political undertaking since the 5-4 decision in Bush v. Gore nearly 11 years ago. That ruling effectively sealed George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential election victory.

The court has scheduled a remarkable five and one-half hours for oral arguments in the case, but has not set a specific date. The court will hear two hours’ worth of arguments about the so-called “individual mandate,” a linchpin of the law that requires individuals to have health insurance or face a penalty.

The court will also evaluate the provision’s constitutionality and whether the overall health care law can still stand even if that provision doesn’t.

Other portions of the oral arguments include the law’s new Medicaid requirements for states, and whether it is proper for courts to hear challenges to the law, considering its mandates do not take effect until 2014.

Source: NBC News, 12/19/11