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Washington braces for hearings on controversial health reform measures

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POSTED: Friday, March 23, 2012 - 8:00pm

UPDATED: Friday, March 23, 2012 - 8:04pm

Two years ago President Obama signed into law what he calls the Affordable Care Act that his opponents derisively call Obamacare.

On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the health care reform case and could throw it out.

It's already big issue in presidential campaign.

Democrats are being cautious.

President Obama did not celebrate the anniversary.

Democrats claim 86 million Americans have already benefitted.

"Today no child in America is denied health coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition," noted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Still, polls show Americans are divided on the plan that:

-- bans insurance companies from dropping coverage
-- provides free preventative services
-- bans benefit limits
-- mandates everyone buys in

Opponents hate the mandate on principle.

"Could the federal government order you to eat carrots, could it order you to quit smoking?" asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

More than a quarter of a billion dollars has been spent on ads criticizing the plan.

Tea Partiers took repeal petitions to Capitol Hill Friday.

GOP presidential hopefuls Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney lashed out at the plan during stops on the campaign trail.

The White House is pushing back.

"They want to go back to a system where insurance companies have all the rules on their side," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

After jobs, it's the biggest issue in the race for the White House.

The Supreme Court will hear three days of worth of arguments on the plan's different provisions next week.

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