The U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear three days of oral arguments over whether President Barack Obama's healthcare law is constitutional, capping a legal battle that could significantly impact the 2012 race for the White House. Sarah Irwin reports.
USA-HEALTHCARE - President Barack Obama's controversial healthcare law - faces its biggest legal test this week - as the Supreme Court hears three days of oral arguments over whether it is constitutional.
Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in March of 2010. How the court rules on it - could significantly impact the U.S. presidential election.
Tom Goldstein is a Supreme Court lawyer.
Tom Goldstein, Supreme Court lawyer and SCOTUSblog.com publisher
"This is the intersection of law, politics and human life - that we have a massive Constitutional question on the President's signature achievement about something that affects every single American, and it's all wrapped up in one case in the run-up to a presidential election."
The law seeks to provide health insurance to more than 30 million uninsured Americans - and slow down soaring healthcare costs.
Supporting the plan is Robyn Martin - the mother of seven-month-old Jax who has a rare genetic disorder and heart condition.
Martin works on healthcare policy - and said the law's ban on lifetime coverage limits and denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions - is essential.
Robyn Martin, Mother of Jax and Affordable Care Act supporter
"We need the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act because we need this little boy to continue to have healthcare without having to worry about hitting a limit, without having to add up each one of our visits to see how close to an arbitrary limit that a health insurance company sets for us."
At the heart of the legal battle - is the law's "individual mandate" - that requires most Americans to get insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty.
John O'Connor owns a car repair shop - and opposes the mandate. He is member of the small business group - the National Federation of Independent Business - that along with 26 states - is challenging the law.
John O'Connor, Owner of Shade Tree garage and Affordable Care Act opponent
"We should control our own destiny. The consumer should have more say. That when the government involved, the expectation that it is somehow going to get better, as independent businessmen, we question that."
Echoing many opponents' concerns, Republican presidential candidates have said - as president - they would each repeal the law.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney
"This presidency has been a failure, and at the centerpiece of this failure is this piece of legislation back here, Obamacare."
But, Romney's Republican rivals have attacked him on healthcare - saying he favored a similar plan to Obama's as Governor of Massachusetts.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum
"I have never passed a statewide, government-run healthcare system when I was governor. Because, while I wasn't governor, but Governor Romney did."
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
SOUNDBITE: Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich
"Romneycare and Obamacare are about that far apart."
The Supreme Court is made up of five justices who were appointed by Republican presidents and four appointed by Democrats
It is expected to issue a ruling in late June - just months ahead of the November 6th presidential election.
Sarah Irwin, Reuters.