NEW YORK (
) -- The U.S. Supreme Court will start to hear oral arguments Monday of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is now
by President Barack Obama as "Obamacare."
The six hours of hearings across three days won't produce any decisions, but will set the stage for a June showdown between the Obama administration and 26 states opposed to the massive overhaul of health insurance in the U.S.
A June decision would come some five months ahead of the 2012 election for president as opponents and supporters of the health insurance law are likely to use the Supreme Court's judgment as a central theme to November's political maelstrom.
"Can you imagine if the opposition called Social Security "Roosevelt Security"? Or if Medicare was "LBJ-Care"? Seriously, have these guys ever heard of the long view?" David Axelrod, a top strategist for Obama's re-election campaign, wrote in a statement on Friday.
Republicans have typically used the term Obamacare in a pejorative way and presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has even said that his candidacy has focused on the need to repeal the legislation.
Mitt Romney has tread lightly around the issue as critics have pointed to a Massachusetts health care reform -- passed in 2006 and signed into law by Romney when he was governor there -- as the model for Obamacare.
The GOP presidential front-runner has consistently said the Massachusetts law and the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress are different, and he hasn't refrained from criticizing the president's plan.
"Sadly, the law itself is fast becoming the national nightmare that I and other critics have always predicted," Romney said in a statement on Friday.
The Supreme Court will hear 90 minutes of oral arguments Monday, according to the court's Web site.
-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.
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