Catholics petition lawmakers on Medicaid expansion in Mississipp - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Medicaid hot topic in faith based gathering

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Catholics converged on the capitol to persuade lawmakers to expand Medicaid and oppose harsh immigration legislation. Catholics converged on the capitol to persuade lawmakers to expand Medicaid and oppose harsh immigration legislation.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A faith based gathering at the Capitol Wednesday focused on improved health care for the working poor and immigration legislation.

The third annual Catholic Day at the Capitol drew hundreds from across the state. Catholics converged on the capitol to persuade lawmakers to expand Medicaid and oppose harsh immigration legislation.

Parishioners from the Gulf Coast and Jackson are calling for compassion in the extension of Medicaid services.

"It's gonna create $1 billion in new moneys coming into the state which is gonna create a healthy workforce, create jobs and most of all serve the needs of the working poor," said Monsignor Elvin Sunds with the Catholic Diocese of Jackson.

Frances Kuluz Creel was among the group who traveled from Biloxi to petition legislators.

"It's their conscience that they have to live with. I don't know if this is a Catholic issue or what, but they need to realize that we have plenty of poor people who depend on Medicaid," said Creel.

Catholic and Ocean Springs Representative Hank Zuber does not agree.

"No. I think it's also immoral to burden the future generations with debt and have them pay for it whenever we can't afford it," said Zuber a Republican from District 113 in Jackson County.

Representative Steve Holland, a Methodist who also met with members of the group, supports the issue.

"I think we need to take care of each other. Medicaid expansion would provide more health care for our people. It would bring untold millions of dollars to the economy of this state. It is a positive thing and we need a debate and a vote on it," said Holland a Democrat from District 16 in Lee County.

Governor Phil Bryant has expressed opposition to Medicaid expansion and supports Arizona styled immigration legislation, thoughts shared by many in the Republican controlled legislature.

Catholics in the group know it is an uphill battle but hope the moral issue will get support for their cause.

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