AP sources: Health law sign-ups on track to hit 7M

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People line up to enroll for health insurance at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on Monday, March 31, 2014. The deadline is just hours away to sign up for insurance in the first enrollment period under President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. (AP Photo/San Antonio Express-News, Jerry Lara) RUMBO DE SAN ANTONIO OUT; NO SALES

People line up to enroll for health insurance at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on Monday, March 31, 2014. The deadline is just hours away to sign up for insurance in the first enrollment period under President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. (AP Photo/San Antonio Express-News, Jerry Lara) RUMBO DE SAN ANTONIO OUT; NO SALES

Charles Ellis, 53, of Salt Lake City, right, works with navigator Luis Rios while seeking help to buy health insurance at the Utah Health Policy Project Monday, March 31, 2014, in Salt Lake City. Ellis said he doesn’t feel he needs insurance but was signing up to avoid a penalty. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SEIU-UHW worker Kathy Santana, left , assists Ruben Tares, 27, during a health care enrollment event at SEIU-UHW office, Monday, March 31, 2014, in Commerce, Calif. Monday marks this year’s open enrollment deadline, but consumers will get extra time to finish their applications. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Lisa Valera and her husband Manuel sign up for Obamacare at the Community Service Society, Monday, March 31, 2014 in New York. The troubled U.S. government web site for signing up for health insurance was unavailable for several hours Monday morning as the midnight deadline for buying coverage loomed. Heading into the deadline, more than 6 million Americans had signed up for health insurance, some of the policies heavily subsidized for lower income people. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

A screen shows the countdown for the deadline to sign up for health insurance during a health care enrollment event at SEIU-UHW office, Monday, March 31, 2014, in Commerce, Calif. Monday marks this year’s open enrollment deadline, but consumers will get extra time to finish their applications. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 told The Associated Press.

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 Wal-Mart 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 have 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 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. Her diabetic mother would start sweating so they’d have to leave.

She’s heard “that this would be better here,” said Martinez, adding that her mother successfully signed up Sunday at a different location.

At St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, Del., enrollment counselor Hubert Worthen plunged into a long day. “I got my energy drink,” he said. “This is epic, man.”

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.

The insurance markets — or exchanges — offer subsidized private health insurance to people who don’t have access to coverage through

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