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Sebelius in St. Louis to tout health care law ahead of anniversary, Supreme Court hearing

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)
US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in St. Louis today.

As the second anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act approaches, a top surrogate of President Obama says the law will survive political and constitutional challenges to have a third anniversary.

The US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, was in St. Louis on Monday, part of a coordinated effort by President Obama and his surrogates to answer criticisms of the law.

The anniversary is Friday. Next Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States will take up a series of constitutional challenges to the law, many of which focus on the requirement that most Americans have some form of health insurance.

Secretary Sebelius says there's 70 years of precedent for the so-called individual mandate.

"This is in part about the health care law, but it's also about the Congressional powers under the Commerce Clause, and [the courts] continue to broaden it," she said.

Sebelius also says public opinion will prevent Republicans from overturning the law even if they gain control of both chambers of Congress and the White House. All four of the remaining Republicans in the GOP presidential primary have pledged to repeal the act.

"They'd be told one again that the insurance companies could pick and choose who got coverage and who did not get coverage," Sebelius said. "And I'm not sure that once people begin to think about what the future looks like that they are ready to have those benefits taken away."

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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