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More Texans purchasing health plans

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TWC News: More Texans purchasing health plans
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More Texans are signing up for health insurance under the troubled federal online exchange.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, about 14,000 Texans enrolled in October and November, which is more than any other state except Florida.

Stacey Pogue with the left-leaning think tank Center for Public Policy Priorities says the state has a history of starting out slow in enrolling people in new programs.

"Enrollment is heading in the right direction, and it's what you would expect as we get closer to January when people want coverage and as the glitches with the website got ironed out," Pogue said.

Pouge says Children's Health Insurance Program--or CHIP—is a good example. In the first month, they had 30 kids enrolled, by the second month, it was 17,000. Now, there's about 600,000 participating in the program.

While the number of people enrolling through healthcare.gov is improving, critics say the Obama administration is going to be hard pressed to reach its goal of seven million sign ups by the end of March.

John Davidson with the right-leaning think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation says the numbers show a lack of enthusiasm for the plans being offered.

"Given the current rate of enrollment, they're going to have to increase enrollment 10 times the rate we've seen in the first six weeks, enroll about 2 million people a month between now and the end of March, and that seems unlikely," he said.

While Texas had the second highest enrollment numbers in the country, it's still a small tally since Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured.

"I think one of the things the numbers show is that state officials were right to not allow themselves to be deputized into implementing a pretty ill-conceived federal policy that is blatantly not working," Davidson said.

If you want to have health coverage starting Jan. 1, you have to sign up for a plan by Dec. 23.

Officials are encouraging people not wait until the last minute. Some are worried about how the website will handle it if everyone tries to enroll at the same time.

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