MMarch 25 (Bloomberg) -- ore than 1.1 million people visited the federal Obamacare website yesterday, the second most ever, as Americans try to beat a March 31 deadline to obtain health insurance or risk a fine.

Under the health-care law, Americans who aren’t insured by the end of March may have to pay a penalty equal to 1 percent of their income. The federal turnout was mirrored in states. Washington’s exchange enrolled 12,000 people last week and almost 1,200 signed up yesterday in Connecticut, the states reported.

“The expected surge in last-minute enrollments has begun,” said Richard Onizuka, the chief executive officer for the Olympia-based Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

About 5 million people enrolled in private plans through March 17 using government health exchanges created by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration has said. With a last-minute surge, the U.S. effort may meet or exceed 6 million, the most recent estimate of the Congressional Budget Office and a politically important goal for President Barack Obama, who faces continuing criticism from political foes that the law is not viable.

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