The individual mandate. That's the healthcare phrase to know going into 2012, where one of the biggest stories -- both in the health world and outside of it -- is the Supreme Court's November decision to hear 5 1/2 hours of oral arguments over three days in late March about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The judges will hear arguments over four issues, but the primary one concerns the individual mandate (or what the Court has called the minimum coverage provision), which requires individuals to either buy insurance or pay a penalty. Did Congress overstep its boundaries and exceed constitutional authority when it passed a 2,700-page law that included the mandate? We should find out in late June.