There have been startup problems in the first phase of a privatized "Bayou Health" care system for Louisiana's poor and uninsured.

Only about 12 percent of eligible Medicaid recipients in southeast Louisiana have enrolled with one of five private health plans due to take over their care in February.

Today, the state will start assigning the remaining quarter-million unsigned participants to one of the companies.

Health-care providers have raised so many questions about the new program that the state Department of Health and Hospitals has held daily conference calls with them.

Patients are reporting several technical difficulties in their dealings with Bayou Health.