A federal appeals court struck down a critical part of the new federal health care law Friday, marking the first time an appellate court ruled against it and moving the suit a step closer to the Supreme Court.

In a 2-1 ruling, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law’s individual mandate, which requires that all Americans buy health insurance. The panel said the rest of the law can remain intact, including the law’s allowance of government money to subsidize insurance plans that cover abortions.

Many observers say the law cannot survive financially without the individual mandate.

“What Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die,” the panel ruled, according to the Associated Press.

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