WASHINGTON -- With the deadline just hours away to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, Vice President Biden kicked off the White House's last-minute push on Monday to get uninsured Americans to enroll.
Biden, who appeared in a pre-taped video call on the Rachel Ray Show, underscored that any Americans who are in process of signing up for health care as of midnight will be eligible to sign up even if they aren't able to complete enrollment by the end of the day.
"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. "I think people are going to be really, really surprised how well this has turned out."
"Get in the queue, now," Biden urged viewers. "Get in the queue. There is still time today."
Biden made a particular appeal to young people, whose enrollment numbers are seen as vital to keeping health insurance costs stable.In addition to Biden's appearance on Rachel Ray, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is scheduled to do interviews with local TV stations in Oklahoma City, Orlando, Tampa, Cleveland, Dallas, Cincinnati and Columbus; and White House senior advisers Valerie Jarrett and Phil Schiliro are slated to make the administration's final push by calling in to radio shows in targeted markets around the country.
"Let me say something to any young person listening," Biden said. "If you don't need this for your piece of mind, do it for mom. Do it for your dad."
The federal government's healthcare enrollment website -- HealthCare.gov -- went down briefly early on Monday because of what was called a "software bug."
The midnight deadline to sign up -- or at least be in line -- is the last chance to avoid a penalty for not purchasing insurance in 2014. People will pay the penalty with their federal income taxes next year.