WASHINGTON, March 31 (UPI) -- The White House is engaging in an all-out push to get the word out ahead of Monday night's deadline to enroll in the federal healthcare exchanges.
Vice President Joe Biden appeared on The Rachael Ray Show Monday in a pre-taped video call to encourage viewers to sign up for the "peace of mind" health insurance can bring.
Ray told the audience how her mother and her sister were able to sign up her brother for insurance on the exchange after he was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, a condition that, before the Affordable Care Act, may have allowed insurance companies to deny her brother coverage.
“My mom and my sister went on the site and used it as a resource to find the people in our community and they found the right healthcare for my brother and his child,” Ray explained. “It is such an important resource for Americans, and I just thank this administration for doing this.”
When Ray apologized for tearing up during the call, Biden commiserated.
"No, it's personal," he said.
He also encouraged people to "get in the queue" Monday, even if they're not able finish enrolling.
"It's a little bit like people when the polls close at 8 and there are 100 people waiting, they get to vote," Biden said, explaining the White House's decision to allow people who begin their applications by the deadline Monday night to continue to work on them through mid-April.
"I think people are going to be really, really surprised how well this has turned out," he said.
The White House announced last week enrollments had hit 6 million people, much closer to the original 7 million projection than many thought was possible after October's botched rollout.
“I hope that young people take it seriously enough to get online today and get signed up,” Ray told viewers. “It’s so important to take advantage of this.”
And despite most of the website's technical problems getting ironed out in the first weeks, a bug forced the exchange offline for a few hours Monday morning, and another glitch caused the site to reject new accounts for a few minutes Monday afternoon.