|By John Guerriero, Erie Times-News, Pa.|
The congressional debates, the tea party protests, the criticism and the praise over national health-care reform gradually faded into the background after dominating the national conversation in the first two years of his presidency.
But the conversation about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- known derisively by critics as "Obamacare" -- is back, in a big way.
The anniversary itself, the
Even after the court finishes hearing arguments Wednesday, the issue will remain at the forefront for months to come.
"It's going to be one of the major news stories of the summer," said
Depending on which candidate emerges as the
Speel said that if front-runner Romney becomes the nominee, he'd have a tougher time criticizing Obama on health-care reform.
But Speel said the other
Santorum is taking on both Obama and Romney at the same time, calling for the repeal of what he calls "ObamaRomneycare."
Santorum has said that "Obamacare" would be a "death knell for freedom."
Opponents also have charged that the worst fears of the legislation have already come into play in the form of higher costs and regulations, which the law's supporters refute.
The case is now before the
Arguments are scheduled today on that issue.
The court will consider whether it's constitutional for the federal government to require individuals to get health insurance, either through an employer, a government program or by direct purchase -- and face a financial penalty for not doing so.
"It's an example of what many conservatives would label as big government run amok," Speel said.
Critics have seized upon the timing of the anniversary and the high court's hearing of the case to renew a call to throw out all or part of the law.
And the Obama administration has highlighted some parts of the law already in place, such as allowing adult children to stay on their parents' health-care coverage until age 26 if they don't have a job or work without insurance coverage.
Last week, the Obama campaign in