|President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul divided the nation from the day he signed it into law, and that seems unlikely to change no matter how the Supreme Court rules on its constitutionality.
Some legal disputes, like the 2008 presidential election, the court can settle. Others rage on, such as abortion. It may take another decade to find the balance between private and public responsibility for health care in America, a nation disdainful of big government yet historically unable to guarantee affordable basic coverage to its citizens.
"Either way it rules, the Supreme Court decision will not end the debate on health care," said former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, an influential Democratic adviser. "It is, and will largely remain, a debate on the role of government."
The Supreme Court's announcement on Monday that it will take up the constitutional challenge to what Republicans deride as "Obamacare," sets the stage for a decision next summer in the heat of the presidential election campaign.