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The U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama‘s sweeping health care legislation Thursday in a narrow 5-4 ruling.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, which said that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution does not give Congress the authority to require people to have health care, but that other parts of the Constitution did.

The court’s ruling upheld the law’s central provision — a requirement that all people have health insurance.

The importance of the decision cannot be overstated: It will have an immediate and long-term impact on all Americans, both in how they get medicine and health care, and also in vast, yet-unknown areas of “commerce.”

Five scenarios: Health care options before the justices

The polarizing law, dubbed “Obamacare” by many, is the signature legislation of Obama’s time in office.

It helped spur the creation of the conservative tea party movement and is likely to be a centerpiece of the presidential election campaign.

Both Obama and his presumptive Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, have been firing up supporters this week by staking out their positions.

Speaking to supporters in Atlanta Tuesday, Obama defended his health care law as the way forward for the American people.

“They understand we don’t need to re-fight this battle over health care,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do that we’ve got 3 million young people who are on their parent’s health insurance plans that didn’t have it before. It’s the right thing to do to give seniors discounts on their prescription drugs. It’s the right thing to do to give 30 million Americans health insurance that didn’t have it before.”

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article courtesy of CNN.com

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