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Musicians raise concerns over Obamacare repeal

President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (‘Obamacare’), which introduced a limited form of universal healthcare to the US, have been greeted with concern by a musicians’ advocacy group, which says millions of “newly insured musicians [could] lose their coverage” under Trump.

The Future of Music Coalition (FoMC)’s national organising director, Kevin Erickson, found in 2013 that 53% of musicians lacked private health insurance – close to three times the rate of the general population.

Erickson says: “The Affordable Care Act (ACA), […] despite its imperfections, effectively extended health insurance to millions of Americans, focusing on low-income self-employed individuals and their families, a population that includes countless musicians.

“Will countless newly insured musicians lose their coverage?”

“Provisions forbidding pre-existing conditions from being a factor in eligibility also expanded the pool of the insured.

“Since the ACA’s passage, the Republican-controlled congress has held a seemingly endless series of votes to repeal it. Now, without Obama’s veto standing in the way, its future is unclear. Will countless newly insured musicians lose their coverage?”

At least 20 US musicians and celebrities said they would leave the country should Trump be elected president.

 


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Musicians ‘50% more likely to be on medication’

Mental health in the music industry has been a hot topic in 2016, with the MMF’s Fiona McGugan, panels at The Great Escape and Bigsound and the launch of Help Musicians UK’s Music and Depression (MAD) study all serving to draw attention to an issue hitherto largely undiscussed.

Now, a new study from Norway has revealed the extent of the problem, finding that musicians in the country are three times more likely to be undergoing psychotherapy than the average Norwegian and 50% more likely to be using psychotropic medication (a class of drugs that includes antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilisers and anxiolytics).

The study, led by Jonas Vaag of the North Trøndelag Hospital Trust’s department of psychiatry, found the disproportionate use of medication and therapy among musicians to be “consistent with previous findings indicating high rates of sleep difficulties and psychological distress among musicians”.

The results are “consistent with previous findings indicating high rates of sleep difficulties and psychological distress among musicians”

Use of therapy was reported most frequently among singers, while the most widespread use of psychiatric medication is by rock musicians.

“The results underline the importance of investigating both the content and quality of services provided,” concludes Dr Vaag’s team’s report.

 


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