Short of its enrollment goal ahead of a Sunday deadline, California's Obamacare exchange made a final push for sign-ups at Los Angeles area clinics, churches and shopping malls.
Covered California officials said enrollment was up sharply heading into the weekend, with 25,645 people picking a health plan Friday. That pushed total enrollment to 1.36 million. The state is trying to reach 1.7 million in the second year of the health law rollout.
Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, urged the uninsured to turn out before open enrollment ends at midnight Sunday. Without coverage, he warned, people risk paying a federal tax penalty or getting stuck with huge medical bills they cannot afford.
"We know many people wait until the last minute and we're seeing lines out the door today," Lee said at a clinic in East L.A., where dozens of people were waiting to enroll Saturday. "We're nearing the finish line on the second year of this historic initiative, and we don't want to leave anyone behind."
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