Excerpts from briefs filed with the Supreme Court on Friday by the Obama administration in defense of the health care overhaul and two parties _ 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business _ that oppose the law.
"Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to address a crisis in the national health care market. Spending in that market accounts for 17.6 percent of the nation's economy."
"The act in general, and the insurance reforms in particular, culminated a nearly century-long national effort to expand access to health care by making affordable health insurance more widely available."
"The minimum coverage provision is within Congress' powers under Article I of the Constitution. ... In particular, the minimum coverage provision is key to the viability of the act's guaranteed issue and community-rating provisions. Those market reforms will end discriminatory practices under which millions of Americans are denied coverage, or charged unaffordable rates, based on medical condition or history."
National Federation of Independent Business:
"The act reflects an intricate deal that emerged from one of the most hard-fought and narrowly decided legislative battles in recent memory. It produced a `comprehensive and complex regulatory scheme' that proponents claimed would achieve near-universal health-insurance coverage and reduce health-insurance costs _ without increasing the federal budget deficit."
Florida and 25 other states:
"The ultimate question is whether Congress would have enacted the statute without the invalidated provision. Here, the answer is clear. Congress considered the individual mandate essential to the act's functioning, to its passage, and to its ability to achieve Congress' goal of near-universal health insurance. This Court cannot remove the hub of the individual mandate while leaving the spokes in place without violating Congress' evident intent.
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