'Loaves and Fishes Day' For Medicaid Expansion

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Press Release: PICO Florida

Orlando, FL - Clergy from across Florida will gather on Wednesday in the State Capitol to call on the Florida Legislature to expand Medicaid.

"We are going to our Capitol to pray on behalf of all hardworking Floridians," said Rev. Errol Thompson, Chairman of PICO United Florida and pastor at Orlando's New Life Fellowship Baptist Church.
"Our message during this Lenten season is that we have enough resources in our state and in our country to ensure that our most basic needs are met. There is no good reason that our families and neighbors should not have the opportunity to live healthy and productive lives, just like our legislators."

The Medicaid expansion issue has reached a defining moment where state leadership is divided more around budgetary questions rather than the moral questions of how do we assist some in need and not others, especially when resources are available. The federal government will pay 100% of the cost of Medicaid expansion for the first three years, while the state will never be required to pay more than 10% of that cost in any year, according to Florida CHAIN.

Clergy from PICO United Florida, a nonpartisan, faith-based community organization, will be joined by House Democratic leader Perry Thurston (D - Ft. Lauderdale), who has stated that "there are major opportunities to expand health coverage for working Floridians, and we cannot afford to wait when it comes to saving lives. An expansion of health coverage will create high-paying jobs, be good for Florida's economy, and will improve health outcomes for hundreds of thousands of Floridians."

In addition to the call to expand Medicaid, the pastors will be joining with people of faith across the country who are taking part in a multi-state, "Loaves and Fishes" Day of Action urging Congress to muster the political will to pass a moral federal budget that protects Medicaid and other critical programs for low-income and working families. Along with 21 additional "Loaves and Fishes" events in 13 states, plus a press conference on Capitol Hill, the faith community will encourage our leaders in Washington to protect families and seniors, reject austerity, and remind them we have enough for all in this country.

WHO: Prominent clergy leaders from across Florida, including: · Rev. Errol Thompson, New Life Fellowship Baptist Church, Orlando · Pastor Eddie Walker, In God's Time Tabernacle, Orlando · Pastor Joann Smith, New Direction Christian Center, Miami · Rev. Darrell Kelly, Free Spirit Community Church, Panama City

WHAT: Prayer vigil, a call to expand Medicaid in Florida and pass a moral budget in Washington that protects Medicaid nationwide.

WHERE: State Capitol, 4th floor, in front of the House Chamber

WHEN: 11:30 A.M., Wednesday, March 20, 2013

PICO United Florida is a non-partisan, multi-county network of congregations representing 90,000 families who are working to improve the quality of life for low-income and working families in the state of Florida. In 2012, PICO United Florida led the fight to defeat Amendment 3 by mobilizing over 260 congregations and contacting nearly 1.5 million voters. As an affiliate of PICO National Network, PICO United Florida is non-partisan and does not endorse or support candidates for office.

PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation.

Learn more at www.picoflorida.org .

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