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Obama Admin. Files Brief Defending Individual Mandate

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration on Friday filed its first merits brief on the constitutionality of a key provision of the health care law. At issue is the individual mandate that requires people to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty.

In the 80-page brief, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. argues that the uninsured shift, “tens of billions of dollars of costs for the uncompensated care they receive to other market participants annually.”

Verrilli writes, “The Act breaks this cycle through a comprehensive framework of economic regulation and incentives that will improve the functioning of the national market for health care by regulating the terms on which insurance is offered, controlling costs, and rationalizing the timing and method of payment for health care services.”

Opponents of the law argue that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring individuals to buy health insurance. The brief from lawyers representing 26 states opposed to the law is due on February 6.

Arguments in the case will be held in late March.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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