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‘Full Expansion Now’: Advocates Rally At Mississippi Capitol For Medicaid Expansion

JACKSON, Miss.—Amid a diverse crowd of pro-Medicaid expansion activists gathered on the steps of the Mississippi Capitol building in Jackson, Miss., on Tuesday, Raine Rosson held up a cardboard sign saying that she was there in place of her sick mother, Janet. “My mother is too sick and weak from cancer to come here today,” the sign read.

“She was going to come, but she didn’t feel up to it,” Raine Rosson said in an interview with the Mississippi Free Press on Tuesday. “She’s always been a champion for human rights, but this is an issue that happened to come home to her.”

Rosson, who drove down to Jackson from Starkville with her husband John, said her mother experienced first-hand the realities of skyrocketing health-care costs when doctors diagnosed her with the debilitating illness.

Although insurance covered the costs for most of her mother’s treatments, the family wondered about the uninsured Mississippians who avoid doctor visits because of out-of-pocket expenses.

“If we’re going to be pro-life, to me, the most obvious thing is to take care of the people that are suffering because they can’t go to the doctor,” Rosson said. “People can’t get care. It’s a real shame.”

The rally comes as lawmakers from the Mississippi House and Senate are working together to come to an agreement for a Medicaid expansion plan after the two chambers passed significantly different bills earlier in the session.

Several faith leaders spoke during the Medicaid expansion rally on the steps of The Capitol Building on Tuesday.

Southside Baptist Church Pastor Jeff Parker called out what he described as the cognitive dissonance of those who spout Christian values but refuse to support public policies like full Medicaid expansion.

“I was warned that, as a Southern Baptist Republican, that (supporting) this issue—expanding Medicaid—might possibly brand me as a liberal,” Parker said.

“My response was simple: You Christians cannot have it both ways,” the pastor continued, to applause from the crowd. “You hold to conservative fiscal policies in government. You tighten the grip of our government on humanitarian expenditures while your churches build campuses in excess

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