A national project to get every artist health insurance
Artists Health Insurance Resource Center website
The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Health Care Act is good news for all artists. The health care reform legislation passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court will finally make health insurance available and affordable for the American artist. As the changes begin, AHIRC is here to guide you through the legislation and how it will affect the visual and performing arts and entertainment communities. Our mission is to insure every artist in the United States by 2014. Looking for a clear, concise guide to the numerous provisions that will make comprehensive insurance accessible to almost everyone in our community? Visit Every Artist Insured, our booklet explaining the most significant programs and reforms within the law, with special emphasis on those that directly impact the lives of artists.
In Pittsburgh, "Healthy Artists" project takes on U.S. health care reform
Danielle Nicole, Art In Fact magazine, 4/23/13
A little over a year ago, a friend lent Julie Sokolow a book by bestselling author T.R Reid, titled "The Healing of America." The book gives a comprehensive breakdown of the U.S. health care system compared to other countries. " "It was eye-catching," says the 25-year-old acclaimed musician turned indie filmmaker. "Every other first world nation offers healthcare to its citizens. We spend more on healthcare, but we don't take care of everyone. This is the great American injustice of the 21st century." Sokolow was instantly inspired, and started to get heavily involved with efforts to reform U.S. health care. An artist herself, Sokolow wanted to tell the stories of her peers. "I started interviewing my friends in the arts scene about their lives, their art, and their experiences with health care," she says. In January 2012, she assembled a team of young creatives to produce the documentary series "Healthy Artists," in which Pittsburgh artists talk about their lives, their work, and struggles with the current, broken health care system. With so many of the nation's young adults uninsured, Sokolow's main approach is to expose the horrific injustices caused by the current system, while calling for a more just solution - universal health care. "I'm thinking more critically about the artist's lifestyle: Why do we accept that it should be fraught with instability? Why do we accept the starving/poor/tortured artist cliche? And why are all my creative, intelligent, artistic friends uninsured and unable to see a doctor when they need to?"
Minnesota arts service org head: 'We couldn't do anything about health insurance, but we could help with health care'
An excerpt from Jon Spayde's interview with Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts [in St. Paul, MN], for The Line, 5/1/13
Zabel: We did this big statewide economic impact study, and it showed that artists are twice as likely to lack health insurance as the general population in Minnesota. We took that information around to all these funders and other people in the community and said here is the most relevant issue for the community we want to serve. And they all, more or less to a person, said you are never gonna be able to do anything about it.
Spayde: The main element of your health care program is vouchers to artists for clinic visits, right?
Zabel: We do a lot of other things too; health fairs, screening days and a resource guide, but the vouchers really are the core. Our biggest ah-ha moment was we weren't really going to be able to do anything about health insurance, but we could do something about health care. There's an amazing community clinic system in the Twin Cities, but artists weren't using those resources. They weren't aware. For a self-employed person, the system-navigation challenge of health care is probably even bigger than the financial challenge. Over these last four years we've helped about 5,000 artists in the Twin Cities go to the doctor, and 98% say they find a home for their ongoing health care. Now we're focused on trying to help artists navigate the changes that are coming with the Affordable Care Act - talk about a system that's gonna need navigation! We have five community clinics here and two community clinics in Fergus Falls that are using that program, and we just published a toolkit for other people to use the program.
In NY and CA: The O+ Festival pays artists with health care, instead of money
Rob Galgano, DailyKos.com, 5/11/13
Last year, I got involved with a great group of folks in NY. In 2010, they started the O+ Festival, a music/art/wellness festival that pays participating artists with healthcare instead of money. On Columbus Day weekend (Oct 11-13) 2013, O+ returns for its fourth incarnation. The inaugural San Francisco O+ Festival is scheduled for November 2013. Take five minutes and watch this video from the first O+ in 2010. You can also listen to past O+ participants talking about their experiences:
Danny and Peter from the band Lucius
Mike Merenda from folk duo Mike + Ruthy
O+ Director of Technology Kale Kaposhilin
Musician Shana Falana
If you live in [New York's] lower Hudson Valley, you should come see us when October rolls around. The festival happens in the Stockade District of Kingston NY. The venues for San Francisco have not been announced yet, but planning is underway.