Rockefeller said he worries anti-government sentiment could interfere with state and federal agencies getting the resources they need to implement the law.
"People aren't in the mood for what government does or does not do in terms of policy," he said.
Citing remarks by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and others in the GOP, Rockefeller said he is also concerned it will become harder for Democrats to work with Republicans in Washington.
McConnell has said that the "single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."
"It's going to be very, very hard these next two years to get anything done, which will make people even madder," Rockefeller said. "I just hope that somehow we don't come to a complete standstill over the next two years, and I think that's what some [Republicans] do want."
Rockefeller said he has enjoyed working with interim U.S. Sen. Carte Goodwin, whom Manchin appointed in July to serve in the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd's seat until West Virginia elects a new senator.
He called the 36-year-old Goodwin "very balanced, very even-tempered."
"Senators, they were fascinated by him," he said. "They liked what they saw, and they told me that... He's got a really good future if he wants it."
Reach Alison Knezevich at alis...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.