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Florida Leads Nation In Obamacare Enrollment

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Florida led the nation with 1.3 million residents signing up for 2017 coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act by a Monday deadline, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday.

Floridians seeking health insurance through the federal marketplace were up more than 14 percent from the 1.14 million Floridians who had signed up during the same time last year, federal officials said. More than 1.5 million Floridians were covered by the federal program, which is also known as Obamacare, in 2016.

The 1.3 million Floridians signed up for 2017 coverage will grow, as the number does not include consumers who were automatically enrolled in the program, federal officials said. The number also only reflects those signing up for coverage beginning Jan. 1. Floridians can still enroll in Obamacare through Jan. 31, with the coverage beginning March 1.

Updated numbers, including the automatic enrollees, will be released next month. In a phone conference with reporters, Sylvia Burwell, the Health and Human Services secretary, said the Florida numbers, and the record 6.4 million consumers who signed up nationally for the Jan. 1 coverage, reflect the fact that the federal health care program "is vital to them and their families."

Burwell said the federal health care program faces "head winds" as President-elect Donald Trump and Congress have vowed to repeal Obamacare. But she said Floridians who sign up for the 2017 coverage will be covered through next year, as the debate evolves over repealing and replacing the program in Washington, D.C.