Line Stretches Around Alamodome On Last Day Of ACA Health Care Signup
Health officials saw an overwhelming number of people looking to sign up and pay for their insurance yesterday, the last day of the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment period for 2014.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said despite the last day of big numbers, they will not be extending the deadline.
"We’re not talking about an extension beyond trying to make sure that people get through the process," Sebelius said. "I like to think of it as a election day. When you’re in line to vote even though the polls close at 7 p.m. we want to make sure you go ahead and vote.”
The last big push to sign up targeted demographics with a high number of uninsured; people like 29-year-old JC Flores who waited in line to sign up for a plan rather than pay the fine.
“I was told that if you do not sign up for medical insurance the government will fine you," Flores said. "I'm working but I never needed insurance, so I guess now’s the time to do it.”
Flores said he canceled his employer-provided plan when the cost ate up most of his paycheck; he said he has been without health insurance for the past two years.
The website healthcare.gov was overloaded and crashed on several occasions throughout the day, causing thousands of people needing to sign up to physically wait in an line.
Those Texans who fall into the "Medicaid gap" -- people who would have qualified for Medicaid expansion but have no access to Medicaid expansion because Texas opted out of the plan -- will not be penalized for not signing up and choosing a plan; they will simply without any access to health care.