A top U.S. administration official asked civil rights activists on Thursday to help defend President Barack Obama’s embattled healthcare law, saying the reform package faces an “enemy” determined to set American health policy back half a century.

The remarks in a charged election year come two months before the Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling that could make or break the law.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to cast the two-year-old reform law as a vital weapon against racial disparities that have long condemned U.S. minorities to higher infant mortality rates, shorter lifespans and limited access to medical services.