WASHINGTON — A last-minute deluge of health insurance signups came from states where political leaders have opposed the Obama administration's health care law, according to federal figures released Thursday.
In March and April, the number of people enrolling in plans more than doubled in the 36 states that chose not to set up their own marketplaces, the figures show. Most of these states deferred to the federal marketplace, HealthCare.gov, in a show of resistance to the program.
Nevertheless, many residents of these states rushed to sign up just before this year's deadline. In Texas and Florida, which have fiercely resisted the Affordable Care Act, nearly 1 million people enrolled between March 1 and April 19. Similar increases took place in Georgia and North Carolina.
An additional 4.8 million people have obtained health coverage through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.
Myriad questions remain, including whether enough healthy people enrolled in each state to stave off a premium increase, and how many of those who signed up actually paid their first month's bill, which is necessary to ensure coverage.
But Democrats seized on the report as evidence that people are seeking to benefit from the law despite Republican attacks.
"The final enrollment report proves that the Affordable Care Act is a historic success," Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said in a statement shortly after the numbers were released.
The figures were included in a widely anticipated report that offered the first detailed look at the health care law's inaugural enrollment period, which got off to a bumpy start on Oct. 1 but ended with the Obama administration exceeding its target by enrolling more than 8 million in the program.