Crowd urges governor to expand Medicaid eligibility

About 100 people rallied outside the Kansas Statehouse Friday, urging state officials to expand Medicaid eligibility as provided for in the federal health reform law.

A Lawrence pastor cast the expansion as a Christian imperative during a call-and-response exercise with the crowd.

?If Jesus was up in the Capitol would he make a choice to keep 130,000 people without care?? said the Rev. Joshua Longbottom, associate pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence.

?No,? the crowd shouted.

?If Jesus was up in the Capitol, would he tell families that they just need to get better jobs so that they could afford to take care of themselves?? Longbottom asked.

Again, the answer was ?no.?

?Did Jesus say, ?I?m sorry you can?t get to the well, Mr. Leper, but you need to cultivate some self-reliance??? Longbottom said.

?No,? the crowd yelled.

?So I ask the question, Gov. Brownback, ?What would Jesus do?? Longbottom said. ?I thought the mark of his ministry was caring for the ill, caring for the sick, caring for the dispossessed, caring for the marginalized, caring the first for the least.?

Brownback has been outspoken about his Christianity and penned a spiritual autobiography titled ?From Power to Purpose.?

?Dave Ranney, KHI News Service

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