No affordable care act = No self-sustainable artist
I’m standing in front of a bride and a groom, offering them an hor’oeurve while thinking about my next album. For artists who aren’t famous, having odd jobs are how we make ends meet without getting a 9-5 job that would eliminate the time we devote to our craft.
An artist spends the same amount of money to attend a Conservatory or Art Institution as a Doctor spends to attend Med school. However, artists don’t have the same job opportunities when they complete their degree. Therefore, artists are coerced to get side jobs in order to pay for the basic needs, such as food and shelter. On top of that, they have to pay back student loans. With all of these responsibilities and no funding for art, how are artists supposed to create?
The affordable care act gave artists greater flexibility to create their art and still have health care without getting a 9-5 job. I’m a singer/songwriter by night and part time catering manager by day. By the time I was 25, I was unable to keep my mother’s health insurance. However I was only 2 years out of my undergrad.
Today, in order to sustain myself and not lose the time to create, I work a job where I give my availability, but I’m still only considered a part time employee. That means I don't get health care from my employer. I could work 60 hour weeks for 3 weeks at a time during the busier parts of the season, but I don't qualify because I’m not salaried nor do I have a consistent 40 hour work week.
Not having health Insurance puts my parents at a great risk. If I were to get into an accident or get sick in any way, my parents would have to pay hundreds of thousand of dollars in medical expenses. Even if I couldn't pay myself, my parents would have to. This isn't good because I would never want to burden my parents with a mind-boggling amount of expenses.
The options I’m now left with are to live in this world with no health insurance, thereby becoming a walking money risk, or to compromise my career of passion for a job that offers me benefits. I could of course choose the latter option saying things like “I promise myself that after I work a 40 hour work week, take care of the apartment, and feed myself, I will spend the rest of my time available creating art.” Not only are you tired physically from working a 40 hour work week because it is a full time job, you’re mentally exhausted. Who would be inspired and awake to create under such conditions?
We can’t be blind to the fact that being an artist is already a full time job with extra work demands. Why is it that other careers make it easier to succeed? We have to create a realistic path for artist/entrepreneurs to have a chance to create and at least have health care while they build a career. I do think that should be a right for all.
We have to figure out a balance allowing everyone to have all the opportunities they can get to reach their full potential. The answer is certainly not an unregulated or inexistent governmental system.
Prisca Philogene is an up and coming singer songwriter who released her debut album “Interlude to Me” in October 2016. She feeds off of creativity and C major scales give her ultimate LIFE. She’s looking to connect with Creative minds of all facets. For more info or for a jam session hit her up at: Priscaphilogene@gmail.com