Feds: Fewer than 750 Arizonans select health plans

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Photo credit: MGN Online By Catherine Holland Photo credit: MGN Online By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- The federal government released data Wednesday showing only about 750 Arizona residents have enrolled in the online health insurance marketplace that is a key part of President Barack Obama's health care law.

Arizona's light enrollment in the first month of the program is part of a broader trend around the country after a launch that was marred by website glitches and delays. The nationwide number of 106,000 October sign-ups was barely one-fifth of what officials had projected.

Supporters of the law believe the numbers provide only a preliminary snapshot and that more people will sign up in the coming months. Republicans ripped the numbers as further proof of the law's failure.

"President Obama should be concerned when more people are struck by lightning each year than have enrolled in Obamacare in Arizona," said Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released state-by-state numbers of people who enrolled through the new exchanges between Oct. 1 and Nov 2.

The numbers are sure to rise as Arizona residents complete the application process to enroll in the exchanges. More than 17,000 Arizonans applied for a health plan through the exchange. They sought coverage for nearly 33,000 people - including themselves, spouses and children.

The government also provided an update on another centerpiece of the health care law - expanded Medicaid eligibility. Arizona became the site of an intense legislative battle this year as Gov. Jan Brewer pushed to expand Medicaid eligibility under the law, drawing the wrath of conservatives in her own party and prompting a legal challenge.

The federal government announced 11,339 Arizona residents are eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program.

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