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Arkansas Democrats, Republicans Sharply Divided Over Ruling

The political fight between Arkansas Democrats and Republicans over healthcare reform is far from over.
The political fight between Arkansas Democrats and Republicans over healthcare reform is far from over.

"Republicans have definitely used this for political gain," said Candace Martin, spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Arkansas.

"The Democrats threw the first partisan punch in this battle," said Doyle Webb, Chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party.

At issue: The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling to uphold the Affordable Heathcare Act of 2010.

Under the law, all adult Americans are required to buy health insurance starting in 2014. All businesses with 50 or more employees are required to offer coverage or face hefty fines.

The healthcare law was the centerpiece of Democratic President Barack Obama's first two years in office and the flashpoint of heated debate throughout the country over the government's role in healthcare versus; the private sector; and individual rights and responsibility.

Political expert Dan Greeberg said the decision taught everyone a lesson.

"For months people have been hoping that the Supreme Court would save us from the political process. What we learned today was that the political process is going to be the one to decide these issue," Greenberg said.

The divide along party lines is deep.

A Pew Research poll one week before the Supreme Court decision showed 75 percent of Republicans would be happy if justices threw out the new law altogether; 62 percent of Democrats would be happy if they upheld the law in its entirety.

Among the public, however, the divide is not as deep.

Forty-three percent said they approve of the law, 48 percent disapprove.

The poll was conducted between June 6-17.
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