Health law sign-ups growing but goal still elusive

FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2014 file photo, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius greets visitors after a news conference on enrollment in affordable health coverage in Cleveland. The Obama administration says about 1 million Americans signed up for private insurance under the president’s health care law in January, extending a turnaround from early days when a dysfunctional website frustrated consumers. New numbers released Tuesday show nearly 3.3 million people signed up through Feb. 1. Although enrollment is gaining ground, the government’s initial target of 7 million by the end of March still seems like a stretch. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2014 file photo, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius greets visitors after a news conference on enrollment in affordable health coverage in Cleveland. The Obama administration says about 1 million Americans signed up for private insurance under the president’s health care law in January, extending a turnaround from early days when a dysfunctional website frustrated consumers. New numbers released Tuesday show nearly 3.3 million people signed up through Feb. 1. Although enrollment is gaining ground, the government’s initial target of 7 million by the end of March still seems like a stretch. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wide disparities are emerging among states in health insurance sign-ups, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal enrollment statistics released Wednesday.

The Obama administration says about 1 million people signed up for private insurance under the health law in January, extending a turnaround from early days when a dysfunctional website frustrated consumers.

The new national numbers show that nearly 3.3 million people signed up from last Oct. 1 through Feb. 1.

Although Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says she's encouraged that the sign-up campaign is gaining ground, the government's initial target of 7 million by the end of March still seems like a stretch.

Also, officials are unable to say how many of those who signed up were previously uninsured — the ultimate test of President Barack Obama's hard-fought overhaul.

Beyond the stronger national numbers, the latest report shows huge differences and surprising twists at the state level.

Some Republican-led states whose elected officials strongly oppose the law are keeping pace with monthly sign-up targets that the Health and Human Service Department established in September.

Some states where support for the law is strong are among the worst performers.

The AP's analysis compared the latest cumulative sign-up numbers for each state with targets spelled out in a Sept. 5 memo to Sebelius that the AP obtained months ago.

A dozen states have met or surpassed sign-up targets, including New York, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin. The first three have Democratic governors. The latter three are led by Republicans, and the federal government has had to take on the role of running the new insurance markets there.

Surprisingly, the worst performers include four jurisdictions where Obama's law has strong support: Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and the District of Columbia.

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1Paradiselost writes:

"After website woes decrease, Obamacare enrollment surges in Florida, nation".

"Nearly 300,000 Floridians have signed up for Affordable Care Act plans, an 88 percent increase in a month, reflecting an enrollment surge that coincides with the end of Obamacare's major website woes".

"Florida has the second-highest rate of the nation’s uninsured, with about 1 in 4 lacking coverage. The state, like others controlled by Republicans, has refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare".

"Gov. Rick Scott tepidly called for the Medicaid expansion, but was met with stiff resistance from fellow Republicans who control the Legislature. They say expanding Medicaid would eventually cost the state too much while delivering substandard care. Scott stopped talking about the issue last year".

“If your governor would take the money,” Biden said during his Miami visit, “there would be another 880,000 people covered".

"Florida’s number of enrollees, the second-highest in the nation behind California, accounts for almost 9 percent of the nation’s 3.3 million total enrollees, according to figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services".

"New York, which also runs a state exchange, had nearly 212,000 people sign up. Texas, which has no exchange and has the nation’s highest uninsured rate, counts just more than 207,000".

"In Florida and the nation, about 56 percent of those in Affordable Care Act plans are women, who can no longer be charged far higher premiums just because of their gender".

“Being a woman, under the Affordable Care Act, is no longer a pre-existing condition,” Sebelius said, echoing a frequent campaign-trail line of President Obama’s.

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2014/02/13/4...

For a country that prides itself on its Christian ethic, it is completely unacceptable that we are simply allowing people to die for lack of affordable healthcare.

I Guess we finally found those death panels that Sarah was talking about.

They are called Red State Republican governors!

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