Some say states and the federal government are facing such complex technical and political realities that some deadlines need to be relaxed, including the Jan. 1, 2014, opening of online marketplaces where individuals and small businesses will be able to shop for coverage. More than $850 million in grants has gone to states to plan their exchanges, with most accepting the money, even states where lawmakers have opposed moving forward with any aspect of the healthcare law. Still, only 14 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation authorizing the exchanges. And legislation is just one piece. States also must upgrade computer systems, create governing organizations and define what "essential benefits" insurers must include in policies sold on their exchanges.