Healthcare Reform: a polarized political debate for the nation and how it affects dancers

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As President Obama continues to lobby for his health care reforms, the Supreme Court debates the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate, requiring all American citizens to have health insurance, and with the quickly-approaching 2012 presidential election in November, healthcare is a hot topic. But, for dancers, health care has been an issue for a long time.

I was fortunate enough to dance with full time companies for nine years, where my health insurance premiums were covered by the dance institution. When I moved to New York City and began freelancing I got hit by a hard dose of reality; suddenly, I was responsible for my health care expenses and did not have the fiscal means to afford a health plan. I resorted to what the majority of freelance or small dance company dancers do..fore go health insurance all together. Considering what a dancer puts his or her body through on a daily basis, this is not the most ideal scenario. However, because of the economic ramifications of freelance dancing in one of the most expensive cities in the nation, I had no choice but to hope and pray I would not get injured or seriously ill.

Recently, I decided to conduct some research on what health care options exist for dancers. Additionally, I aspired to better understand how Obama Care will impact the dance community. As I talked to other dancers, asking for their insight on the topic, I realized that I was not the only one lost in the sea of technical jargon and high premiums. This inspired me to write an article for Dance Informa, sharing any relevant information with my fellow dancers.

My process started with the typical mind-numbing internet searches, but, luckily, I stumbled upon The Actor’s Fund and hit a gold mine of helpful information by talking to their Director of Health Care Services Jim Brown. He walked me through various resources the organization offers, as well as breaking down the Affordable Care Act–deemed by the media as Obama Care. He directed me to the Al Hirschfeld Free Clinic, where I was able to address some personal health concerns at no charge. The clinic’s doctor was patient, helpful, and thorough. And my right foot, which was stressed out from hours spent in pointe shoes, was thankful for his services.

Now, I join the rest of America, directing my attention towards the Supreme Court and wondering about the future of health care.

For more information on health care resources for dancers, check out my recent Dance Informa article, part 1 of 2, by clicking here. And be sure to tune back in for the June issue for the second installment, in which Brown guides me through the many layers of Obama Care.

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Showing 2 comments
  • nicole

    Thanks, Steph. This is fabulous!

  • kristin

    This is no small feet to take on, Stephanie. I applaud your willingness to tackle this convoluted issue and look forward to reading further on your findings.

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