As the Associated Press reported at the time of the website's launch, it was hoped that those stuck in that Medicaid expansion gap would use Florida Health Choices. The concept actually dates back to 2008, the brainchild of then-Florida House speaker Marco Rubio, now U.S. senator. Rubio had secured $1.8 million in start-up funding at that time, according to Reuters, and the state legislature then authorized $900,000 last year to fully launch the website.
Florida Sen. Aaron Bean (R), who the Times reported was one of the website's major supporters, acknowledged that people had flocked to HealthCare.gov, which offered tax credits and full insurance plans, instead of the Republican alternative, which did not.
"Obviously we wanted more (business), but the competition is giving it away for free," Bean told the Times.
TPM asked now-Sen. Rubio's office if he still supported the concept of Florida Health Choices after the reports of its low sign-up numbers.
"Yeah, we have nothing against free market exchanges," Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said in an email.