Anyone who has worked in NYC theater knows that health insurance is extremely difficult for many artists to pay for. There are high hopes among many actors, writers and directors I know that today’s Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act is a step forward in their attempts to become insured. The Washington Post today put up a calculator that allows you to plug in your income and determine how much you must pay for insurance, or if you choose not to, how much tax you will pay. I invite all uninsured artists to check it out.
It is interesting to note that the calculator does not require your address. That’s because the amount you can afford to pay is figured nationally, so if you make $25,000 a year in NYC, you can afford to pay just as much for insurance as someone living in Kansas, even though your cost of living may be twice as high.
There are good arguments on both sides of this legislation, but is important to understand just what your contribution to the system is going to be. Since the President assures us that those who already have coverage will not pay more, the bill can only be paid for by those who do not. Whether they like it or not, theater artists will bear substantial costs toward the goal of universal coverage. Those in more traditional fields already pay enough.