Hudson only Republican sen. in MS to support Medicaid expansion - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Hudson only Republican sen. in MS to support Medicaid expansion

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State Senator Billy Hudson of Hattiesburg is in full support Medicaid expansion. This may seem unusual, especially coming from a Republican senator; however, he says he simply wants to do right by others-- all politics aside.

Hudson is the only Republican in Mississippi standing up for the expansion of Medicaid.

Governor Phil Bryant has been stern on the issue by recently stating that he does not intend on calling a special session for reauthorization or expansion, unless house Democrats agree to extend it.

Hudson spoke with conviction as he expressed how the political agenda of his colleagues are negatively affecting the lives, and health, of Mississippians.

"People are playing politics with people's lives, and that is a very serious matter," Hudson said.

"If we don't reauthorize Medicaid by the end of June, a lot of people are going to get letters saying they're going to be cut off."

Hudson points out that he is pushing for the expansion of Medicaid, because he cares about the sick, poor, elderly, and blind. But Medicaid opponents and Bryant say an expansion would break the budget.

"If we don't reauthorize Medicaid, I'm hearing over 220 people (at Forrest General alone) could be laid off right here by the end of June," Hudson said.

Hudson served on the board of supervisors at Forrest General Hospital for eight years.

"What kind of service are we going to give them when they go to the hospital? We're going to have to wait, and wait, and wait even longer than we already do," Hudson said.

Not only could this affect patients receiving care, but it could affect families, as well. Hudson said if something isn't done, hundreds will be forced to relocate and restart their lives.

He's also worried about families with low income who struggle to make ends meet.

"What's going to happen to the families bringing in $20,000 a year or less? These people can barely put food on the table, so what's going to happen now?"  Hudson said.

Hudson does not want the governor to take the issue lightly. He says he wants the GOP legislative leadership should put politics aside by working with Hudson on Medicaid expansion.

"I can't speak for other senators and representatives, but I think that if we have another chance to vote on expansion, there's a good chance that it will pass. So now we're waiting and hoping and praying that the governor will do the right thing and call us back in session," Hudson said.

Governor Bryant is expected to be in Hattiesburg for a meeting on Thursday where Senator Hudson will be present.