The Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010 but still the focus of intense Republican scorn, got a boost from its champion President Barack Obama on Friday at an event singling out the law's benefits for women.
He made his remarks at the White House alongside women and families who say they're already benefiting from the measure, which has become known as Obamacare. The event was pegged to Mother's Day.
"Because of this law there are millions of other Americans -- moms and dads and daughters and sons -- who no longer have to hang their fortunes on chance. Because we are not going to inflict that hardship on the American people again," Obama said. "The United States of America does not sentence its people to suffering just because they don't make enough to buy insurance on the private market, just because their work doesn't provide health insurance, just because they fall sick or suffer an accident."
The law, he said, particularly benefits women, including its provisions providing better access to mammograms and birth control, as well as new measures allowing children to remain on their parents' health insurance up to age 26.
The health care law, considered one of Obama's most substantial first-term achievements, has long been challenged by Republicans as unconstitutional and bad for small businesses.
The Supreme Court heard challenges to the law last year and upheld it by a 5-4 vote, deeming its key individual mandate, which requires most Americans to obtain health insurance or face a tax penalty, constitutional.
That decision also paved the way for the law to take effect next year.
Yet, Republicans have vowed to continue fighting the law. The House will hold its 37th vote to repeal Obamacare next week, though its demise is unlikely with a Democrat-controlled Senate and White House.
"We've got 70 new members that have not had the opportunity to vote on the president's health care law. Frankly, they've been asking for an opportunity to vote on it and we're going to give it to them," House Speaker John Boehner said at his weekly press conference on Thursday. "I want to repeal the law of the land."
Some GOP governors have also opposed the law's expansion of Medicaid, refusing federal dollars to implement the expansion in their states.
Obama acknowledged the political back-and-forth on Friday.
"There's still a lot of political bickering over this law," he said. "The same folks who fought tooth and nail four years ago and tried to make political hay out of Obamacare, they're still telling tall tales about its impact."
But he said his own re-election last November also served as a referendum of his health care law.
"Six months ago the American people went to the polls and decided to keep going in this direction. So the law is here to stay," he said.
But Republicans aren't the only ones who have problems with Obamacare - Sen. Max Baucus, a key Democrat who helped craft the law, voiced serious concerns in April about its rollout.
"The administration's public information campaign on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act deserves a failing grade. You need to fix this," Baucus told Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a hearing last month.
"I just see a huge train wreck coming down," he added later.
The administration has been open to making the law easier to implement, including shortening applications for health insurance on government-run exchanges from 21 pages to three.
Obama admitted Friday "there will be some mistakes and hiccups as the thing gets started up," but said he and his administration was committed to enacting a law that works for every American.
"With something as personal as health care, I realize there are people who are anxious, people who are nervous, making sure that we get this done right," he said. "I'm here to tell you, I am 110% committed to getting it done right. It's not an easy undertaking. But if it were easy, it would have already been done a long time ago."
Recent polls show Americans are as split as Washington over the law.
A January CNN/ORC survey showed that 51% favor most or all of the proposals while 44% oppose most or all elements of the law. Those numbers are reversed from 2011, when only 45% were in favor and 51% opposed.