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Black Voters Matter Hosts Medicaid Expansion Talk In Jackson As Lawmakers Clash

Days before six state lawmakers began negotiations for a Medicaid expansion bill, visitors to St. Matthews M.B. Church in Jackson, Miss., filled the pews to hear a message about voting and how politics affects their everyday lives.

Black Voters Matter and the American Cancer Society American Cancer Network partnered to host the event on April 20, which featured a health-resource fair and the showing of the health-equity focused documentary “In Dues Season.”

Self-advocacy and active participation in the political process was a main theme throughout the conversation.“We need to be working with our Legislatures. Call them up,” Black Voters Matter Mississippi State Coordinator Carol Blackmon said.

“We tend to talk among ourselves. We need to get the message to the people who are making these decisions. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, and if we don’t complain in the right places, we’re not going to get what it is we are trying to acquire.”

Carol Blackmon, a senior coordinator for Black Voters Matter of Mississippi said that those concerned about healthcare disparities in their communities should be active in the political process and reach out to their state lawmakers while speaking at St. Matthew M.B. Church in Jackson, Miss., on April 20, 2024. “We tend to talk among ourselves. We need to get the message to the people who are making these decisions,” she said. Photo by Shaunicy Muhammad

Former Mississippi House Rep. Kathy Sykes spoke briefly during the Black Voters Matter event, echoing Blackmon’s comments. She encouraged people to understand the power of their vote and their voice and told those in attendance to call the offices of the six Mississippi lawmakers discussing what could be a landmark Medicaid expansion bill.

“It doesn’t matter if you live in their district or not, they need to hear from you,” Sykes said. “We just need to get on the phone and call.”

Lawmakers Clash on Expansion Plans

Mississippi is one of 10 states that has not yet adopted Medicaid expansion, which the federal government has offered to fully fund since former President Barack Obama’s 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

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