The so-called individual mandate is the centerpiece of the law, and the conventional wisdom says the rest of the law will crumble if it is found to be unconstitutional.
The idea behind the mandate is to ensure that enough healthy people buy insurance to allow the government to require something much more popular — that insurance companies sell policies to people who have pre-existing health conditions.
Perhaps it's ironic that one of the most articulate spokesmen for the individual mandate is someone who is currently campaigning for the repeal of the federal health law — GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. While he wants the federal law overturned, he does still back the mandate in the law he signed as governor of Massachusetts.
"If someone doesn't have insurance, then we have to care for them in the hospitals, give them free care," Romney said in a debate in Jacksonville, Fla., in January. "So we said no more, no more free riders. We are insisting on personal responsibility. Either get the insurance or help pay for your care. And that was the conclusion that we reached."
So it is that Romney, currently campaigning to repeal the health care law, openly supported mandatory payment for government backed insurance as recently as two months ago.
Source: NPR and AP