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Healthcare site put to test as deadline approaches

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CHICAGO (KNOE 8 News/AP) - The government's revamped health care website is being put to its biggest test today. Americans have been rushing to beat today's extended deadline for signing up for health care coverage that will take effect by the first of January.

The website where people in 36 states can shop for insurance has received nearly 2 million visits today -- and officials say it's handling the traffic well. The website went through extensive hardware and software upgrades to make it more reliable and increase its capacity.

Yesterday's one-day grace period was the latest in a series of delays and extensions that have marked the rollout of the health care law. And critics of the law have seized on the extension as more evidence that the program is in trouble.

Health economist Gail Wilensky, who ran Medicare for President George W. Bush, ridiculed what she calls an "amazing, ever-expanding deadline." She says it's "a sign of desperation by the administration to do everything they can to increase the number of people signing up."

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