As of last week, just seven people had successfully enrolled in Alaska's health care marketplace.
Like many programs across the country, the state's web tool has been inundated with technical malfunctions. Alaska Public Media, reported many Alaska residents were waiting up to three hours to sign up.
Of the uninsured Alaskans, 72 percent would qualify for subsidies under the new marketplace system, but many have been deterred.
It's frustrating for area residents who were promised a seamless enrollment experience when the marketplace opened on Oct. 1, but for Democratic senators like Mark Begich, D-Alaska, who are facing reelection in conservative states, Republicans are hoping it is a major blow.
Since his initial vote in support of the Affordable Care Act, Begich has proposed fixes to the lawand has been clear the landmark health care legislation is far from perfect, but Begich has defended his 'yes' vote for three years, promising voters that the controversial health care law would be well worth the wait.
"You know, they'll work out the glitches," Begich told Alaska Public Media. "It is technology and they'll figure it out and at the end of the day, Alaskans will have 34 insurance programs to choose from."
Begich is just one of a handful of vulnerable Democrats including Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Mary Landrieu, D-La., up for election in 2014 whose reelection could hinge on whether the Obama Administration can rebuild public trust around the health care rollout and gin up enough public interest to make the Affordable Care Act a marketable success. Monday, Obama made a Rose Garden appearance to say no one was more upset than he with reports of the exchanges' malfunctions.
"No one is madder than me that this is not working, which means it is going to get fixed," Obama promised.
But Republicans are not about to let the glitches go unnoticed. Fresh off a bitter fight and government shutdown over Obamacare that left Republicans with sinking poll numbers, the GOP is looking to refocus the conversation. They want an 'I told you so' moment and many see the 2014 elections as a perfect place to start.
"Barack Obama and vulnerable Democrats like Kay Hagan, Mark Pryor and Mark Begich will try to distance themselves from their own unpopular law, but the truth is that Obamacare's problems run far deeper than an IT specialist can handle," says Brad Dayspring, the spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "Democratic Senators who point fingers at a bad website while defending ObamaCare would be like a restaurant owner telling a patron, "Ignore the rats in the kitchen, try the steak, trust us."
Gail Wilensky, an economist and health care expert who directed the Medicare and Medicaid programs in the early 1990s, says that Democrats could be increasingly vulnerable in their 2014 reelections, but only if the computer glitches persist well into the winter.
"It is pretty obvious that it is far wackier and bumpier than anyone anticipated," says Wilensky. "This is not going to help vulnerable Democrats, but it is early. Let's wait to see where we are in December."
Wilensky says that while Republicans have been quick to pounce on Democrats who have fought for health care, she notes the GOP civil war between the tea party and establishment Republicans could distract the GOP from really taking advantage of the voters' frustrations with the health care law.
"It depends who the Democrats run against," Wilensky says. "Lately Republicans seem to have an unfortunate habit of finding candidates who take positions that are far too extreme for the constituency they represent. We would have said Claire McCaskill was so vulnerable. And low and behold you put up a candidate who thinks it is useful to talk about legitimate rape."
Justin Barasky, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, says the Republicans are just trying to change the subject from their inner party squabbling.
"2014 is shaping up to be a referendum on the badly damaged Republican brand that's gotten worse in recent months after nearly every Republican senate candidate supported a reckless and irresponsible shutdown championed by NRSC Vice Chair Ted Cruz," Barasky said in an emailed statement.
In Arkansas, however, Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, seems to be zeroing in on Obamacare and setting up his campaign as a referendum against the law.
"My opponent Senator Pryor has insisted on pushing ahead with this flawed law and has opposed any delay. The roll out of the healthcare.gov and state exchange sites have exposed numerous problems, including a lack of privacy guarantees for consumers," Cotton said in an emailed statement. "This issue will be a prominent one in our campaign."
The Club for Growth also has made the Affordable Care Act a centerpiece of their campaign against vulnerable Democrats, including Pryor. The group launched a six-figure ad buy in the early days of October criticizing the two-term senator for opposing any delays to the law as a part of a broader budget deal to reopen the government when it was shut down.
But Pryor is striking back, painting his opponent as an extremist who brought the country to the brink of financial ruin for a strategy that never stood a chance.
"Mark is as frustrated as anyone about this, and the administration needs to fix it. Maybe Congressman Cotton thought he'd help this problem by voting to shut down the government," says Erik Dorey, a spokesman for the Pryor campaign.
In North Carolina, Hagan has continued to support the Affordable Care Act, but she has distanced herself from one component.
Hagan signed onto a bill that would repeal the medical device tax, a 2.3 percent tax on medical tools that is expected to raise $30 billion over 10 years. The tax has been a rallying cry of Republicans who say it hurts business.
Hagan is one of three Democrats running in 2014 for reelection who has signed onto the bill.
"My number one priority is getting North Carolinians back to work, and I am concerned about the effects of the planned medical device tax in North Carolina," Hagan said in a statement. "The medical device industry is critical to North Carolina's dynamic bioscience economy and when the tax was first proposed, I opposed its adoption. Democrats and Republicans must now work together to find a solution that does not harm our economic recovery."
Others have taken a different tack, getting out in front of the law and continuing to campaign for its success. Landrieu pledged to go to the mat for Obamacare in 2014 just last week.
During a floor speech, Landrieu blasted Republicans for trying to tie a repeal of the Affordable Care Act to a funding bill. She insisted that the time to fight for Obamacare would be 2014 and she encouraged Republicans to give it all they have.
"We did not wake up one morning and declare this the law. The people of the United States declared this through us as their Representatives. If they do not like it, they can unelect us. Believe me, they will have a great chance because I am up for reelection right now," Landrieu said. "I am standing in this election as a supporter of the Affordable Care Act–not because it is a perfect law but because it is much better for all the people I represent than what we had before."