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Artists step into health-care reform debate

The advocacy group Americans for the Arts and 20 other nonprofit arts organizations today called on Congress to pass legislation that will create a public insurance option for individual artists, according to a statement from the coalition. 

“Like others who have fallen through the cracks of the current system, many in the cultural workforce work independently or operate in nontraditional employment relationships, leaving them locked out of group healthcare coverage options,” says the statement. “Additionally, soaring health care costs are consuming the ever decreasing budgets of nonprofit arts organizations hit hard by today’s economic recession.”

In Minnesota, about 14 percent of artists are uninsured, according to Artists Count, a 2007 survey conducted by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts. That rate is nearly double the state’s overall uninsured rate.

“It’s a huge issue for artists because of their high rate of self-employment plus their low income, which makes health insurance really, really difficult to afford,” Springboard for the Arts executive director Laura Zabel told Minnpost last August.  

St. Paul-based Springboard has developed an Artists’ Access to Health Care program, a joint project with the Neighborhood Involvement Program that offers low-cost vouchers for health-care services and free screening at health fairs.

The coalition’s statement to Congress includes these requests:

• “A health care reform bill that will create a public health insurance option for individual artists, especially the uninsured, and create better choices for affordable access to universal health coverage without being denied because of pre-existing conditions.

• “A health care reform bill that will help financially-strapped nonprofit arts organizations reduce rising health insurance costs to cover their employees without cuts to existing benefits and staff while the economy recovers.

• “A health care reform bill that will enable smaller nonprofit and unincorporated arts groups to afford to cover part and full-time employees for the first time.

• “A health care reform bill that will support arts in health care programs, which have shown to be effective methods of prevention and patient care.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by sangryul han on 08/14/2009 - 01:53 pm.

    Good News !

    A staff writer at The New Yorker and some experts have examined Medicare data from the successful hospitals of 10 regions, and they have found evidence that more effective, lower-cost care is possible.

    Please be ‘sure’ to visit http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/opinion/13gawande.html?hp for credible evidence !

    Some have followed the Mayo model with salaried doctors employed, Other regions, too, have found ways to protect patients against the pursuit of revenues over patient.
    And a cardiac surgeon of them said they had adopted electronic systems, examined the data and found that a shocking portion of them were almost certainly unnecessary, possibly harmful.

    According to analysis, their quality scores are well above average. Yet they spend more than $1,500 (16 percent) less per Medicare patient than the national average and have a slower real annual growth rate (3 percent versus 3.5 percent nationwide).

    Surprisingly, 16 % of about $550 billion (the total of medicare cost per year) is around $88 billion per year, except for Medicaid (total cost of around $500 billion per year), medicare ‘alone’ can save $880 billion over the next decade.

    In addition, under the reform package, along with the already allocated $583 billion, the wastes involving so called “doughnut hole” , the unnecessary subsidies for insurers, abuse, exorbitant costs by the tragic ER visits etc are weeded out, the concern over revenue might be a thing of the past.

    (( Net Medicare and Medicaid savings of $465 billion + the $583 billion revenue package = $1048 billion – the previously estimated $1.042 trillion cost of reform = $6 billion surplus – $245 billion (the 10-year cost of adjusting Medicare reimbursement rates so physicians don’t face big annual pay cuts) = the estimated deficit of $239 billion ))

    In modernized society, the business lacking IT system is unthinkable just like pre-electricity period, nevertheless, the last thing to expect is happening now in the sector requiring the best accuracy in respect to dealing with human lives. Apparently the errors by no e-medical records have spawned the crushing lawsuits (Medical malpractice lawsuits cost at least $150 billion per year), and these costs have led to the unnecessary tests, treatments, even more profits so far. And in different parts of the U.S., patients get two to three times as much care for the same disease, with the same result.

    Thank You !

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