POSTED: Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 8:00am
UPDATED: Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 8:04am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Today the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on whether President Obama's health law is constitutional.
Whatever the court decides, it's sure to have a big impact on the presidential campaign.
The biggest question is whether the constitution allows the federal government to require everyone to buy health insurance.
"If the Supreme Court decides to strike down the individual mandate, that would be a stunningly activist decision by the court," said Elizabeth Wydra of the Constitutional Accountability Center.
The government argues without the mandate - without everyone in the system - popular parts of the law would go away: free preventive care, getting rid of coverage limits, and making sure the sickest people aren't denied.
Also at issue is whether Washington can force states to cover more poor people under Medicaid. "We are confident that the law is constitutional," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
If The Court upholds the law, it'll be a big blow to Mitt Romney and Republicans who've vowed to get rid of it. "If the court does not strike down the entire law, the House will move to repeal what's left of it," said House Speaker John Boehner.
"If they say 'Look, it passes the Constitution', it still is bad policy and that'll mean if I'm elected we are going to repeal it and replace it," said Mitt Romney, Presidential Candidate.
If the court strikes down the entire law -- or even just the mandate -- it's a big blow to President Obama. "My guess is they're not sleeping real well at the White House tonight," said the Republican Presidential Candidtate.
It's unlikely - but possible - the court could sidestep the whole issue for now.
If it decides the "penalty" for not buying health insurance is really a "tax," the court could say they can't rule on this case until that "tax" kicks in two years from now.