Lawsuits filed by Republican-dominated states as to the constitutionality of the health care law, more commonly known as Obamacare, were largely unsuccessful, as the U.S. Supreme Court last year upheld most of its provisions in a 5-4 decision.
The president's own re-election in 2012 was in part a referendum on the law, as his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, vowed to repeal it if elected.
Then, most recently, last-ditch efforts by the ultraconservative wing of the Republican Party to derail Obamacare by holding government funding hostage backfired on the GOP.
Now, however, the administration is dealing with a self-inflicted crisis: a website that doesn't work well.
Monday, the president acknowledged that Healthcare.gov is buggy and is impeding the sign-up of those interested in purchasing insurance through the newly created online marketplaces. A sign of the scope of the problem is how cagy the administration has been about releasing figures. It says there have been 20 million visits to the website since enrollment began Oct. 1, and almost a half-million applications have been filed. It's not saying, though, how many actually have enrolled. The first enrollment figures are not expected to be released until mid-November.
Consumers are used to technological glitches. Most will be patient, expecting the bugs to be fixed. The longer the problems persist, however, the more it will reinforce the claims made by critics of Obamacare that the health insurance law is too unmanageable and its implementation too rushed.
There's also the problem of enforcing the mandate that requires the uninsured to purchase health coverage by the end of March. If the website bogs down for too long, it would be unreasonable to penalize people for not enrolling on time.