First ACA enrollment deadline approaches

It was a packed house at the 1199SEIU office in Baltimore. Everyone who showed up on Saturday was looking to get signed up for health insurance before time runs out. 
Among the crowd though were some real life success stories.
"My name is Robert Lee Hardy and I'm not an alcoholic but I do have health insurance thanks to Obamacare," said one man. 
He went on to share some of the struggles he had before he was covered. 
"About two years ago, I had an allergic reaction to walnuts and I felt like I was dying and I literally sat on my couch for like two hours until my roommate dragged me to the hospital because I was more afraid of the bill than I was of dying," Hardy said. 
That has all changed now for him now. Hardy said he signed up in about an hour with the help of a navigator and now pays $21 a month.
Another now-insured Marylander says she was on the verge of bankruptcy before the Affordable Care Act came along. 
Barbara Gruber said she has been looking for affordable healthcare for 30 years. She said she has been covered in years past but "it was probably 20 percent of my income for just the premiums and you add prescriptions to that, it was 30 percent, you add a couple of surgical procedures and I was facing bankruptcy. My sister actually gave me her share of the house that we grew up on so I could get a loan so I could pay my bills."
"Until this came in the mail, I did not believe that i was insured. This is my care first, Blue Cross Blue Shield card. I am saving over $400 a month, probably closer to $600 when you include medications in that," Gruber added.
That's what Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake says is so important; to see real people who have seen an end to having to choose between monthly bills and seeing their doctor. 
"Because there has been so much controversy, because there have been so many people rooting against this, I think that there are people who are afraid to grab what is theirs. ... This law is in place, we're not going to let it go anywhere, we want to ensure that you have affordable, quality healthcare and it's yours as an American and make sure that you sign up," Rawlings-Blake said. 
After Monday's midnight deadline, a second open enrollment period to sign up through the state health exchange begins in November.
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