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Californians watch as U.S. Supreme Court reviews healthcare reform

March 26, 2012 |  7:58 am

People wait in line in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Saturday to hear arguments on President Obama's 2010 healthcare law.

The U.S. Supreme Court takes up the healthcare reform law Monday, a case that could have widespread impact for residents throughout California.

The arguments will last three days and will cover the constitutionality of the expansion of the Medicaid program and the mandate that everyone have insurance. First, the justices will listen to arguments about whether it is premature to decide on the law.

In the two years since healthcare reform passed, California has moved forward with implementation of several parts of the law, including expanding coverage to the uninsured and to those with pre-existing conditions, covering preventive services and reducing the cost of prescription drugs for seniors.

PHOTOS: Healthcare demonstrations outside of the Supreme Court

More than 370,000 low-income Californians are now receiving coverage through county-based health insurance plans, according to consumer group Health Access California. In addition, about 355,000 young adults get coverage through their parents' health insurance.

Experts are divided on whether California would be able to move forward without federal funding if the law is overturned. Many of the elements are not scheduled to take effect until 2014.

Recent polls show there is still much confusion over healthcare reform, and the vast majority of people have not experienced a major benefit from the law.

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--Anna Gorman

Photo: People wait in line in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Saturday to hear arguments on President Obama's 2010 healthcare law. A dozen people camped out in front of the Supreme Court to make sure they would get a first glimpse of a historic hearing Monday into the president's health insurance reform law.  About 50 seats have been reserved for the public in the courtroom to hear the court's oral arguments in the case. Credit: Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images.

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