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Despite skepticism from experts who believed enrollment in President Obama’s affordable health care overhaul would be low, Obamacare is on track to sign up more than 7 million Americans as of Monday’s deadline.

That figure was the original target set by the Congressional Budget Office for enrollment in taxpayer-subsidized private health insurance, but was scaled back to six million after the launch of HealthCare.gov last October proved troublesome.

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.

The Obama administration has been working tirelessly to push Americans to “get covered.” White House puppies Bo and Sunny even got in on the campaign in a picture FLOTUS posted to her Instagram with the caption, “No bones about it: Today’s the last day to sign up for health insurance. #GetCoveredNow → Healthcare.gov:”

Monday’s successful rush to apply for health insurance was met with a surge of new applicants, but also long waits and website glitches.

“This is like trying to find a parking spot at Wal-Mart on Dec. 23,” said Jason Stevenson, working with a Utah nonprofit group helping people enroll.

The website stumbled early in the day — out of service for nearly four hours as technicians patched a software bug. Another hiccup in 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 times, more than 125,000 people were visiting the health care marketplace at a moment — a figure way beyond its capacity.

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 have more than 840,000 calls.

But Americans still in line by midnight had some wiggle room. Last week, the administration announced those who started their applications but did not finish before Monday’s deadline would have extra time to enroll.

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 April 7 and take as much time as necessary to handle unfinished cases on HealthCare.gov. Rules may vary in states running their own insurance marketplaces.

The administration is also offering special extensions to make up for all sorts of problems that might have kept people from getting enrolled on time: Natural disasters. Domestic abuse. Website malfunctions. Errors by insurance companies. Mistakes by application counselors.

An exact figure of enrollment is expected to come later this week.

SOURCE: Huffington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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