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To many Kansans, Medicaid is just another welfare program. But it’s really much more than that. Yes, it provides health coverage for low-income mothers and children. But it also serves as a safety net for elderly Kansans. And it’s critical to keeping disabled Kansans in their communities and out of more expensive state hospitals. But the Kansas Medicaid program is undergoing big changes. The state has hired three for-profit companies to manage Medicaid as part of Governor Sam Brownback’s KanCare initiative. Today, we’re launching a week-long series on KanCare produced by Jim McLean of the KHI News Service and KPR’s own Health Reporter, Bryan Thompson. We begin with this report from Jim McLean.