WASHINGTON (AP) — Raising prospects for a major election-year ruling, the Obama administration launched its Supreme Court defense of its landmark health care overhaul Wednesday, appealing what it called a "fundamentally flawed" appeals court decision that declared the law's central provision unconstitutional.

Destined from the start for a high court showdown, the health care law affecting virtually every American seems sure to figure prominently in President Barack Obama's campaign for re-election next year. Republican contenders are already assailing it in virtually every debate and speech.

The administration formally appealed a ruling by the federal appeals court in Atlanta that struck down the law's core requirement that individuals buy health insurance or pay a penalty beginning in 2014.

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