Last fall we told you about the documentary D TOUR which follows Pat Spurgeon, whose promising indie-rock career as a member of the band Rogue Wave suffers an incredible setback when one of his kidneys begins to fail. D TOUR chronicles Pat’s search for a living organ donor and the challenges associated with finding a viable match. Pat’s choice to keep touring and working toward the band’s goals is put to the test; the absolute need to perform dialysis daily and to focus on his health became top priority while being on the road. D TOUR also addresses issues with the health care system, the lack of affordable insurance, and the importance of organ donation.
Last September, D TOUR was shown all around the country as a part of the Emmy® Award-winning series Independent Lens. If you missed your chance to see it then, D TOUR is screening for free in Los Angeles, CA this Saturday, June 12 at 2pm at the Paley Media Center as part of the Donate Life Film Festival. Musician Pat Spurgeon and filmmaker Jim Granato will be at the screening to receive an Inspire award from Donate Life for our contributions in sharing Pat’s amazing story of how he went through kidney failure, ultimately getting a transplant all while touring with his band Rogue Wave.
More info on Saturday’s event here: http://www.donatelifehollywood.org/
Spurgeon’s story underscores the challenges that many American musicians face obtaining health insurance. In March 2010, FMC conducted an online survey to gauge the level of health insurance among musicians and found that, of the 1,451 respondents, 33 percent said they do not have health insurance. This is nearly twice the national average of 17 percent uninsured, as estimated by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Read the survey results here.
While cost is a significant barrier, musicians’ awareness about plans, options and strategies for obtaining coverage are also factors. That’s one reason that FMC has been running the Health Insurance Navigation Tool (HINT) since 2005.
There are new challenges ahead. While FMC was running this survey, Congress passed the Affordable Health Care Act, which instituted a number of new protections, tax credits and safety nets for citizens. But, because of this law, health insurance is no longer an option; by 2014, most Americans — including musicians — will be required to secure coverage. Musicians will need to understand how the new protections affect them on an individual level, and the private plans or public exchanges they can access in order to secure coverage by 2014.
Want to learn more? Watch this video from a health care reform discussion at FMC’s DC Policy Day on Tuesday, May 25. Renata Marinaro from AHIRC outlines the changes and timelines for the enactment of certain provisions, then Adam Huttler from Fractured Atlas and Alex Maiolo from FMC’s HINT program join in a very musician-focused conversation about how the law will affect creators.
More from us as the legislation gets enacted. And watch for D TOUR screenings in your area!