The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to President Obama’s signature law on health care, it said Monday in an announcement that has nearly as much impact on partisan politics as the final decision has on the law itself.

The challenge in the case, brought by 26 states out of Florida, is based on the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Patient Accountability and Affordable Care Act, which requires that all Americans purchase health insurance.

The nine-member court will also look at severability, meaning if the mandate falls, could the rest of the law survive since it is primarily built on the revenues collected by forcing people to buy health care.

The court is also folding in an additional case on the tax implications of the law.

The case is one that all sides want heard. But hearing the case this session — arguments could come in March — means that a ruling will come in June — in the heat of the 2012 election cycle.