Florida leads nation in signups to Affordable Care Act

Health care
CD Davidson-Hiers photo

The deadline for Floridians to sign up for health care benefits through the Affordable Care Act in 2019 expired over the weekend, and when final numbers are posted later this week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, there could be close to million people who signed up for benefits in Florida, by far the most of any state in the nation.

As of December 8, 999,045 Floridians had signed up to the federal health insurance program. The next closest state was Texas, where 542,580 had signed up.

The deadline to sign up in most parts of the country expired on Saturday night at midnight, but there are still a handful of states (California, Minnesota and Colorado) which will continue to take applications for another month.

There is no word yet on what the percentage of sign-ups were on Saturday, after a federal judge in Texas struck down the entire law upholding the ACA on Friday night. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled the law was unconstitutional, siding with a coalition of 18 Republican attorneys general –  like Florida’s Pam Bondi –  who said the law needed to be repealed after Congress removed the penalty for American’s who don’t purchase health insurance.

Seema Verma, an administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, tweeted after the ruling on Friday night that the ruling would have “no impact to current coverage or coverage in a 2019 plan.”

Democrats blasted the decision. South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said it showed the “grotesque lengths to which Republicans will go to harm people with pre-existing conditions and corrode every American’s ability to access affordable health care.”

“Republicans should be ashamed of the fear and anxiety this will cause around millions of Americans’ dinner tables,” Wasserman Schultz added in a statement. “House Democrats will formally fight this decision, and as the new majority, do all we can to protect people with pre-existing conditions and preserve and improve the Affordable Care Act.”

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.

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