UPDATED: Supreme Court upholds Obama health care law

WASHINGTON — In a major victory for the Obama administration, the US Supreme Court on Thursday ruled Barack Obama's signature health care law is constitutional.

By a 5-4 vote, the justices ruled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's individual mandate — which requires citizens to buy health insurance by 2014 or else pay a penalty — was constitutional under the taxing power of the government.

Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the four more liberal members of the court while Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Kennedy dissented.

The court also upheld the remaining sections of the 2,700-page law, and further held that the health care law's requirement that states increase Medicaid eligibility or else lose all federal Medicaid funding is not unconstitutionally coercive.

The suit to block the law was brought by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business.

The law was vigorously opposed by each of the major Republican presidential candidates during the 2012 primary season, including presumptive nominee Mitt Romney.

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