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Nearly 11.8M enroll for coverage

WASHINGTON (AP)  Call it the political equivalent of a death-defying escape: former President Barack Obama's health care law pulled in nearly 11.8 million customers for 2018, despite the Republican campaign to erase it from the books.

An Associated Press count found that nationwide enrollment was about 3 percent lower than last year. California, with more than 1.5 million sign-ups, was the last state to report, announcing its numbers on Wednesday.

Sixteen states increased their enrollment from last year, according to AP's analysis. Six of those were carried by President Donald Trump in 2016, while 10 went for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

However, of the total number of people signed up this year about 6 in 10 live in states that went for Trump, according to the AP's analysis.

"If you had asked me a year ago whether enrollment for 2018 would be almost equal to 2017, I would have laughed at you," said Larry Levitt, who follows the health law for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Total enrollment remained remarkably stable despite Trump's disdain for "Obamacare," and multiple attempts by the Republican-led Congress to repeal it. The Trump administration also cut the sign-up window in half, slashed the ad budget, and suddenly stopped a major subsidy to insurers, which triggered a jump in premiums

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