JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Residents in some parts of the United States are signing up for health care coverage at a significantly greater rate than others via the new online insurance marketplaces now operating in every state.
The discrepancy may trace back to the political leanings of their elected leaders.
Newly released federal figures show more people are picking private insurance plans or being routed to Medicaid in states with Democratic leaders who have fully embraced the federal health care law than in states where Republican officials have rejected what they call "Obamacare."
On one side are a dozen mostly Democratic leaning states, including California, Minnesota and New York. They have both expanded Medicaid for lower-income adults and started their own health insurance exchanges for people to shop for federally subsidized private insurance.
On the other are two dozen conservative states, such as Texas, Florida and Missouri, that have rejected the Medicaid expansion and refuse any role in running an online insurance exchange, leaving it to the federal government.
Though many conservative states have higher levels of poverty and more people without health coverage, fewer may get new insurance, said assistant public health professor Dylan Roby at the Center for Health Policy Research at the University of California, Los Angeles.