(USA TODAY)

By Kathleen Sebelius

When the Health Insurance Marketplace opened last week, demand was so high, it exceeded even optimists’ expectations. On the first day alone, HealthCare.gov had nearly eight times more concurrent users than Medicare’s site (one of the federal government’s most highly trafficked) during open enrollment peak levels.

Many of our neighbors have been waiting years for affordable health insurance. Some have waited their entire lives. After enrolling in coverage last week, Daniel McNaughton of Florida declared: “I found a health insurance plan better than I have ever had for a price I can afford. … The (new law) was worth the wait.” Andrew Stryker of California told The Washington Post he would have “waited all day” to sign up for coverage that will save him more than $6,000.

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