The Obama administration began its defense of its landmark healthcare bill on Wednesday by asking the Supreme Court to rule on the decision made by a lower court earlier this year, The Associated Press reports. The move will likely set the tone for the coming election cycle as Republicans have made a habit of criticizing the Affordable Care Act at every turn.
The decision by the administration to appeal comes after a ruling from a federal court in Atlanta that struck down the part of the bill that requires Americans to purchase health insurance – one of the key provisions of the bill. Though the administration is going on the offensive, the 26 states (including Florida, Maine, Michigan and Arizona) and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), who brought the case to the Atlanta court, are also petitioning the Supreme Court to strike down the entire bill, and not just the insurance mandate.
At the crux of the debate is whether or not Congress has the power to require all American citizens to purchase insurance. The administration believes that it does, while the 26 states and the NFIB believe that Congress severely overstepped its bounds. The case could be decided as early as next week, and Justice John Paul Stevens told the news source that deciding it quickly would be a good thing for the American people.
"It would be better to have that known about than be speculated as a part of the political argument," he told the AP.
There is precedent for ruling in favor of the law. Though the Atlanta federal court ruled against the administration, another court in Cincinnati came down on the side of Obama.