Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some Republican governors suggest that President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is here to stay — despite their opposition to it and problems with Obamacare.

“We’re just trying to make the best of a bad situation,” Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, of Iowa, who calls the health care law “unaffordable and unsustainable,” yet something he has to implement by law. “We’re trying to make it work as best we can for the people of Iowa.”

Some Republican Governors Say Obamacare Is The Law and Here To Stay Despite Problems

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad participates in the morning session of the National Governor’s Association Winter Meeting in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. (Image source: AP/Cliff Owen)

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, said many governors still have concerns about the program, but that outright repeal would be “complicated.”

Some Republican Governors Say Obamacare Is The Law and Here To Stay Despite Problems

National Governor’s Association (NGA) Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin during the NGA’s Winter Meeting in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. (Image source: AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

As governors from both parties gathered in Washington this weekend, some GOP governors echo Fallin, reporting that a full repeal of the law would be complicated at best, if not impossible, as states move forward with implementation and begin covering millions of people — both by expanding Medicaid rolls for lower-income residents or through state or federal exchanges that offer federal subsidies to those who qualify.

Republican opposition to the law is the centerpiece of the GOP’s political strategy ahead of the midterm elections.

Despite a troubled rollout, nearly 3.3 million people have signed up through Feb. 1 for health care coverage under the law. The White House reported that 1 million people signed up nationwide for private insurance under the law in January alone. It remains unclear that the administration will reach its unofficial goal of 7 million people by the end of March, but it still expects several million enrollees by then.

A recent Associated Press analysis of the sign-ups found that six Republican-led states — Florida, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin — were on pace or better than the states had initially projected.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is among several Republican governors who expanded their state’s Medicaid laws under the law.

“The whole dialogue on the Affordable Care Act is about people fighting, causing gridlock and a mess, instead of working on something important like wellness,” Snyder said, adding that he still has “a lot of issues” with the overhaul. “But it is the law, so I’m trying to work in that context.”

Some Republican Governors Say Obamacare Is The Law and Here To Stay Despite Problems

Gov. Rick Snyder downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. (Image source: AP/Grand Rapids Press, Cory Morse)

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, who leads the Democratic Governors Association, said governors spent about half of their private lunch session on Saturday discussing the health care law and the tone was much different than in past years.

“Before the election, it felt like a cock fight,” Shumlin said, describing the debate over the law during the 2012 campaign. “Down there we were talking about ways to we could cooperate.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the Republicans have accepted that as millions of people sign up for it and finally get the health care they have been dreaming of for their families, nobody’s going to take that away,” he said.

Yet Republican governors here described circumstances that would hardly befit a dream.

Democrats and Republicans alike complained about major problems with the Medicaid eligibility data that they are receiving from federal exchanges. The 36 states in the federal exchange have noted often incomplete data with the Medicaid information they are receiving.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican who is among his party’s most vulnerable incumbents in the fall election, said he’s working to expand his state’s Medicaid program, but the process had been cumbersome and difficult. He said it still remained unclear, from a fiscal standpoint, if the health care law would be functioning in two years.

Some Republican Governors Say Obamacare Is The Law and Here To Stay Despite Problems

Gov. Tom Corbett in Harrisburg, Pa. on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. (Image source: AP/Matt Rourke)

“There are a lot more unknowns than there are knowns,” Corbett said.

Republican campaign officials, meanwhile, plan to make the health care law the overwhelming focus of the coming midterm elections.

From coast to coast, conservatives are attacking Democrats who supported the overhaul, seizing on problems with the program’s website and news that some Americans were forced to change insurers once the law took effect. The conservative group, Americans For Prosperity, has spent more than $20 million on anti-Obamacare television ads in several key states since last August.

The stakes are high for parties battling over control of the House and Senate, while there are also 36 elections for governor, most of them for governors mansions currently held by Republicans. The coming elections also offer prospective 2016 presidential candidates an opportunity to boost their political standing.

Leading GOP figures in the Senate like Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida have been vocal critics of the health care law. Cruz mounted a 21-hour Senate speech against Obama’s health law and was tied to the partial government shutdown while Rubio was an early proponent of defunding the health law although he distanced himself from the shutdown.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, a first-term Democrat up for reelection in November, said her state would soon expand its Medicaid program to cover 50,000 uninsured residents.

“Overall, I’m very disappointed with the early implementation and rollout,” she said. “But I think we are making progress.”

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