No Private Health Coverage for Artists, Writers, Photogs: Imagine That

In 2010, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi asked artists to imagine the benefits of Obamacare:  “Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.”

According to The Weekly Standard, “…that was the economy we used to have. But as Obamacare begins to kick in, artists, photographers, writers, and other members of the ‘creative class’ who have access to health insurance programs through numerous professional organizations will lose that coverage.

“Up until now,” WS reports, “professional organizations have worked with insurance providers to craft reduced-rate plans for their members. But thanks to the fine print in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), on January 1, 2014, many of these plans will fail to pass legal muster.”

“The College Art Association website posted a notice this month: ‘The New York Life Insurance Company recently informed CAA that it will no longer offer catastrophic healthcare coverage previously available to CAA members.’ Why? Because it ‘is no longer an option’ for ‘associations whose members reside in different states’ to provide such coverage.  These members will have to seek help from their home states’ newly formed Obamacare exchanges. Plans offered to Modern Language Association (MLA) members will suffer a similar fate.

“Other insurance providers are reporting cancellations. The Entertainment Industry Group Insurance Trust (TEIGIT) website posts the following notice:  ‘All individual and/or Sole Proprietor Health Insurance will terminate January 1, 2014.  This includes plans acquired as Members of our Affiliated Associations & their groups.’  Those affiliated associations include the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Dramatists Guild, the Graphic Arts Guild, NY Women in Film and Television, and many others.

“David Rubin, plan administrator, explains the effect of the Obamacare rules: ‘In TEIGIT’s case this insurance is limited to sole proprietors (i.e., self-employed) who are members of affiliated guilds/associations/unions, and are working at least 20 hours a week (averaged out because performers often work intensely and then have slow periods) in the fields of art and entertainment.’

“Twenty hours? This will affect huge numbers of freelance artists, musicians, disc jockeys, and so forth. This is not a matter of penalties, mandates, or a business’s ability to absorb the cost, but rather a change in definition. Freelancers are losing their collective purchasing power because they are now considered ‘individuals.’

“Unless they are older or suffer from some preexisting condition that made coverage hard to obtain, freelance artists, designers, and musicians forced to enter the state-run exchanges are far more likely to see their rates go up—or to face the individual mandate penalties. This will be especially true, as alert observers of Obamacare implementation have noted, for those under the age of 30.”

A friend of mine is a professional wedding photographer.  I believe she gets her insurance through a professional photographers’ association.  She’s had health issues since a natural gas leak in her home a few years ago.  She’s doing well professionally and has expanded her business in order to make more money.  With Obamacare, she might as well go back to work for her former employer.

Sooner or later, those employers are going to stop hiring full-time workers.  Everyone will be working two part-time jobs to make enough money to survive.  Creative artists are an especially tempting target for the communally-minded Obamacare activists.  Artists, writers, and photographers are particularly individualistic, personae no gratae in Obama’s transformed, social justice world.

The deadline for signing up for this “imaginative” deal is less than a month away.  What in the world could put a stop to it now is anyone’s guess.  Congress has been working on defunding Obamacare and possibly putting it out of commission.

But with Syria a sudden crisis and Obama playing with his toy soldiers trying to figure out a strategy whereby he can send them to Syria without putting boots on the ground (perhaps he’ll give them bullet-proof sandals to get around it), Congress is no longer thinking about the home-spun catastrophe of his “Affordable” Care Act.

Before the advent of digital cameras, photographers had to develop film from negatives.  Obamacare is a negative that should never have been developed.




Published in: on September 6, 2013 at 1:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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