It's a Christmas miracle! OK, not quite. But the White House announced this afternoon that it had in effect extended today's Obamacare deadline one day to Christmas Eve, giving last-minute insurance shoppers an extra day to sign up through the state and federal exchanges, via Reuters:
"The deadline for signing up for coverage to start January 1 is today," said Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for the website. "Anticipating high demand and the fact that consumers may be enrolling from multiple time zones, we have taken steps to make sure that those who select a plan through tomorrow will get coverage for January 1," she said in a statement.
The original deadline for those Americans who want insurance coverage that starts next month was today—Dec. 23—although, as my colleague Matt Yglesias pointed out earlier this morning that deadline wasn't as big of a deal as it might seem. Anyone who's currently uninsured who doesn't sign up by the end of the day tomorrow won't have anything bad actually happen to them. They simply still won't have insurance next month, just like they don't this month. People have until March to sign up and avoid paying the individual mandate fee.