The Obama administration launched its Supreme Court defense of its landmark health care overhaul today, formally appealing a ruling by the federal appeals court in Atlanta that struck down the law's core requirement that individuals buy health insurance or pay a penalty beginning in 2014. Though the case has long seemed bound for the Supreme Court, the administration's filing makes it more likely that the case will be heard and decided in the term that begins next week, raising prospects for a major election-year ruling.
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 today, saying the entire law, and not just the individual insurance mandate, should be struck down. 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 business group said in their filings that the justices should act before the 2012 presidential election because of uncertainty over costs and requirements.