HAAM seeks $1M from city to provide health care for musicians

 HAAM seeks $1M from city to provide health care for musicians

Monday, May 16, 2022 by Chad Swiatecki

The Health Alliance for Austin Musicians is seeking $ 1 million from the city to help maintain health care coverage for 3,000 local musicians and cover an additional 1,000 who qualify for assistance from the nonprofit.

During a presentation at last week’s meeting of the City Council’s Public Health Committee, HAAM CEO Paul Scott said his group typically has to withdraw up to $ 500,000 annually from its reserves to continue providing. assistance with health insurance premiums for its members. The $ 1 million request would provide $ 800,000 to cover the funding gap for existing members, while the other $ 200,000 would allow for the enrollment of nearly 1,000 Austin area musicians to receive coverage from HAAM.

Scott said most HAAM members earn from $ 25,000 to $ 50,000 per year, and face the challenges of strong housing, food insecurity and mental health, all of which are key determinants. in poor health. With an estimated 8,000 musicians living in the area, there is significant concern being invented because musicians are likely to have a life span of 25 years below the average population.

“They work hard and live hard and are influenced by social determinants of health,” he said. “Our musicians are an iconic subculture at the heart of our cultural identity here in Austin and they are responsible for much of our economy and overall success.”

Since realigning its service model in 2015, HAAM has seen a 53 percent increase in enrollment, placing even more financial need on the organization.

Scott said he spoke with Assistant City Manager Stephanie Hayden-Howard about how HAAM could generate more revenue by applying for public health contract requests for a proposal to fit the services offered. of it.

More than possible contract revenue, the group is seeking an allocation in the city’s next budget to cover the remaining $ 1 million requested.

“We want to enter into a conversation in town to see how we can continue to invest in our musicians and their health care as we use the health care dollars available through work. which we do.We want to look at the part of a referral to the town manager’s office or a budget resolution for funds.

Council Member Ann Kitchen said she is ready to connect Scott and HAAM leaders with TexHealth Central Texas administrators, which provides coverage subsidies for small businesses, which may qualify some artists. working in music groups.

“I’m not suggesting that as a substitute for what you’re asking from the town, but I’m just saying they might have a few dollars available because what they’re doing is subsidy help and they’re not tied to (Affordable) .Care Act). ”

Mayor Steve Adler also offered his help in connecting HAAM with other organizations and potential donors who would like to get involved in raising funds for the group, calling its work vital for the town’s live music ecosystem.

“One of the reasons why we can legitimately earn the Live Music Capital moniker in part is because of your organization and SIMS (Foundation), because we provide as a community the infrastructure for musicians that other town, “he said. “The reach and expansion you’ve made since 2015 is amazing and life-saving and I know there are people from all over the country who regularly come to Austin trying to figure out how their industries are doing. music moves … the first thing I mentioned.is HAAM, which is not what they expected.

The photo is made available under a Creative Commons license.

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