The constitutionality of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act was upheld Wednesday by one of the first federal appeals courts to hear the case.

The Sixth Court of Appeals' three-judge panel agreed 2-1 with a federal judge in Michigan who had ruled that the government could require Americans to purchase minimum insurance coverage.

"We find that the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of legislative power by Congress under the Commerce Clause and therefore AFFIRM the decision of the district court," Circuit Judge Boyce F. Martin, Jr. wrote for the court (PDF).

"The minimum coverage provision regulates activity that is decidedly economic," he continued. "[T]he financing of health care services, and specifically the practice of self-insuring, is economic activity."

The health care reform law has been upheld by three lower-level district courts. Two other district courts have struck down all or part of it.