Obama's health care law: A trek, not a sprint

RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It took only a year to set up Medicare. But if President Barack Obama's health care law survives Supreme Court scrutiny, it will be nearly a decade before all its major pieces are in place.

And even if Obama is re-elected, he won't be in office to oversee its completion, assuming Republicans don't succeed in repealing it.

The Supreme Court hears arguments about the case starting March 26.

The law gradually reorganizes one-sixth of the U.S. economy to cover most of the nation's 50 million uninsured, while trying to restrain costs and prevent disruptions to the majority already with coverage.

Despite the rhetoric about what "Obamacare" is doing to the nation, only a fraction of the law is in effect.