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Enrollment within reach of 7 million

By Associated Press


WASHINGTON » Beating expectations, President Barack Obama's health care overhaul was on track to sign up more than 7 million Americans for health insurance on deadline day Monday, government officials said.

The 7 million target, thought to be out of reach by most experts, was in sight on a day that saw surging consumer interest as well as vexing computer glitches that slowed sign-ups on the HealthCare.gov website.

Two government officials confirmed the milestone, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter ahead of an official announcement.

Seven million was the original target set by the Congressional Budget Office for enrollment in taxpayer-subsidized private health insurance through new online markets created under Obama's signature legislation.

That was scaled back to 6 million after the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov last fall. Several state-run websites also had crippling problems.

Americans who rushed to apply for health insurance Monday faced long, frustrating waits and a new spate of website ills on deadline day.

"This is like trying to find a parking spot at Walmart on Dec. 23," said Jason Stevenson, working with a Utah nonprofit group helping people enroll.

At times more than 125,000 people were simultaneously using HealthCare. gov, straining it beyond its capacity. For long stretches Monday, applicants were shuttled to a virtual waiting room where they could leave an email address and be contacted later.

Officials said the site had not crashed, but was experiencing very heavy volume. The website, which was receiving 1.5 million visitors a day last week, had recorded about 2 million through 3 p.m. EDT. Call centers had more than 840,000 calls.

Supporters of the health care law fanned out across the country in a final dash to sign up uninsured Americans. People not signed up for health insurance by the deadline, either through their jobs or on their own, were subject to being fined by the IRS, and that threat was helping drive the final dash.

The administration announced last week that people still in line by midnight would get extra time to enroll.

The website stumbled early in the day — out of service for nearly four hours as technicians patched a software bug. Another hiccup in the early afternoon temporarily kept new applicants from signing up, and then things slowed further. Overwhelmed by computer problems when launched last fall, the system has been working much better in recent months, but independent testers say it still runs slowly.

At Chicago's Norwegian American Hospital, people began lining up shortly after 7 a.m. to get help signing up for subsidized private health insurance.

Lucy Martinez, an unemployed single mother of two boys, said she'd previously tried to enroll at a clinic in another part of the city, but there was always a problem. She'd wait and wait and they wouldn't call her name, or they would ask her for paperwork that she was told earlier she didn't need, she said.

She's heard "that this would be better here," Martinez said.

At a Houston community center, there were immigrants from Ethiopia, Nepal, Eritrea, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and other conflict-torn areas, many of them trying anew after failing to complete applications previously. In addition to needing help with the actual enrollment, they needed to wait for interpreters. Many had taken a day off from work, hoping to meet the deadline.

The White House and other supporters of the law were hoping for an enrollment surge that would confound skeptics.

However, it's unclear what those numbers may mean.

The administration hasn't said how many of the 6 million people nationally who had signed up before the weekend ultimately closed the deal by paying their first month's premiums. Also unknown is how many were previously uninsured — the real test of Obama's health care overhaul.

Though March 31 was the last day officially to sign up, millions of people are potentially eligible for extensions granted by the administration.

Those include people who had begun enrolling by the deadline but didn't finish, perhaps because of errors, missing information or website glitches. The government says it will accept paper applications until Monday and take as much time as necessary to handle unfinished cases on HealthCare.gov. Rules may vary in states running their own insurance marketplaces.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said Monday that Republicans remain committed to repealing Obama's law.

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Josh Lederman, Associated Press

Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

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fstop wrote:
"...on track to sign up more than 7 million Americans for health insurance on deadline day Monday, government officials said."

And of these 7 million, how many have paid?

on April 1,2014 | 03:11AM
ya_think wrote:
And of these 7 million how many are those who had their insurance cancelled? How many were on Medicaid already? And the big loser is how many have paid?
on April 1,2014 | 04:04AM
Anonymous wrote:
What about the original uninsured 30 million, if only 6 million signed up? That means there are still 25 million still uninsured. The ACA did not accomplish its goal by a wide margin, plus over 5 million got their policies cancelled. In the meantime, billion$ were spent, or wasted, depending where you stand politically. Guess the former House majority leader was right when she quipped, we will find out what's in the bill after we pass the bill. What bunch of characters, like an amateur skit played out by big time politicians.
on April 1,2014 | 06:04AM
hanalei395 wrote:
"there are still 25 million still uninsured.". ........... Those 25 million will get health insurance when they get tired of paying the penalty. And tired of going to the ER for their health care.
on April 1,2014 | 06:28AM
soundofreason wrote:
The "penalty" is LESS than what ONE month's premiums are. There IS no "penalty".
on April 1,2014 | 07:46AM
hanalei395 wrote:
Good for you, deadbeat. Keep on going to the ER for your health care.
on April 1,2014 | 08:15AM
cojef wrote:
Supreme Court deemed the fine as "tax" to be constitutional. Also, some be excused by claiming "hardship" on their applications.
on April 1,2014 | 08:42AM
soundofreason wrote:
Hey dumb#$#, I have REGULAR HMSA. Point your insults elsewhere.
on April 1,2014 | 08:59PM
soundofreason wrote:
A lot of them were just put on Medicaid so very few paid.
on April 1,2014 | 07:44AM
pcman wrote:
I watched Jay Carney brief this "success" on TV, and I have never heard more lies in one briefing before in my life. He should receive the "Pinoccio" award for the decade. He is still in fourth place behind Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
on April 1,2014 | 08:24AM
OldDiver wrote:
I think we should try the republican healthcare plan. Oops, republicans don't have a plan.
on April 1,2014 | 06:26AM
hanalei395 wrote:
The only plan the Repubs have ... is to repeal Obamacare.
on April 1,2014 | 06:43AM
AhiPoke wrote:
I'm no republican but it seems to me that no plan could have been a better idea, certainly until these incompetent people had a better plan to implement this program.
on April 1,2014 | 07:57AM
frontman wrote:
No plan is better than obamacare.
on April 1,2014 | 08:21AM
cojef wrote:
We had a good working system covering 270 million people, at least I had high option for over 20 years up to then. The ACA was enacted to include the 30 million uninsured. To implement the law, we have spent almost 3 trillion dollars. That amount would have paid for the uninsured coverage many time over. Republicans had a proposal to sell health insurance cross state-lines but Senate Majority Leader Reid prevented it from being included for legislative discussions.
on April 1,2014 | 09:00AM
hanalei395 wrote:
Social Security: Franklin Roosevelt ..... Medicare: Lyndon Johnson ..... And now this. ... Republicans and Obama-haters HATE the sight and the look of this ..... The Affordable Care Act: Barack Obama.
on April 1,2014 | 10:50AM
DanLBoom wrote:
Just like the Unemployment numbers just before the election.Magicly improved. And now Obama Care just short of a Miracle.....Imua
on April 1,2014 | 06:41AM
McCully wrote:
As usual, the govt. will inflate the numbers. Let's see after a few months weather the people who signed up will pay for Obamacare.
on April 1,2014 | 06:54AM
hanalei395 wrote:
"the govt. will inflate the numbers" ........... Like Fox "News" is spewing ..."Cooking the books". Before this stupid excuse, it was, "Obamacare is on a death spiral". BTW, those numbers are not from the Government. The numbers are from the health insurers.
on April 1,2014 | 07:15AM
soundofreason wrote:
OH, now I COMPLETEY trust those numbers. :/
on April 1,2014 | 07:48AM
hanalei395 wrote:
NOBODY cares COMPLETELY what YOU trust.
on April 1,2014 | 08:21AM
Leinanij wrote:
I saw that too. They said "death spiral" a million times, clicked their heels, wishing that it came true. So now it didn't and do they feel shamed? No, they'll just claim the books are cooked every time what they say doesn't come true. But obviously McCully, DanLBoom, soundofreason, ya_think, fstop, Anonymous and frontman listen to FoxNews and believe every single thing they make up.
on April 1,2014 | 08:30AM
frontman wrote:
Where is the "APRIL FOOL'S"???? Because obama is not telling the truth.
on April 1,2014 | 08:19AM
Winston wrote:
Well, after the lies the president told about keeping your doctor and hospital and having lower premiums, why should we believe a single thing coming out of the administration about Obamacare. Time will tell, but what I'm hearing is that a very large percentage of the signups are Medicaid renewals, Medicaid additions, children user 26, and, mainly, people whose policies were canceled due to Obamacare.

What we don't see are the needed percentage of young/healthy signing up. What we don't see are previously uninsured signing up. What we don't know is how many have actually paid. What we don't see is the narrow networks (few doctors/specialists) in Obamacare.

Verdict: The 7 million number is BS. The train wreck continues.

on April 1,2014 | 08:34AM
cojef wrote:
You mean, a mean April Fool's joke?
on April 1,2014 | 09:03AM
hanalei395 wrote:
Tthe only Fool is Winston. (That's no joke).
on April 1,2014 | 09:39AM
soundofreason wrote:
That's so...........insightful and informative. You're just missing that whole "bounces off me and sticks to you" thing.
on April 1,2014 | 09:01PM
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