Medicaid is health overhaul's early success story

Medicaid is the underdog of government health care programs. But it

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2013, file screenshot, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' main landing web page for Members of Congress are governing themselves under President Barack Obama�s signature law, which means they have great leeway in how to apply it to their own staffs. For lawmakers, it is about a section of the law that may _ or may not _ require them to toss some staffers off of their federal health insurance and into the Affordable Care Act�s exchanges. (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Medicaid is the underdog of government health care programs. But it's turning into a rare early success story for President Barack Obama's technologically challenged health overhaul.

Medicaid has signed up 444,000 people in the six weeks since open enrollment began. That's according to Avalere Health, a market analysis firm that compiled data from 10 states.

Meanwhile, private plans offered through troublesome online markets are expected to have enrolled a much smaller number of people.

The Obama administration plans to release October enrollment statistics this week, but publicly available figures already provide a contrast between a robust start for Medicaid expansion and lukewarm early interest in new, government-subsidized private plans offered separately under the law.

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