Hitting Closer To Home

By | Monday, September 14, 2009 Leave a Comment
Several years ago, some nice folks set up The Hero Initiative (originally called ACTOR). The point of the group, according to their site, is to create "a financial safety net for comic creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work." It's not exactly health insurance, but it does provide assistance, generally, for comic creators who've never had it (i.e freelancers).

This morning, I caught this post from Scott Wegener (super-cool artist for Atomic Robo). He apologizes for his lack of humor while he discusses the fact that he's now totally without health insurance himself. "Currently only two of the four people who work on Atomic Robo have health insurance, despite the fact that we all work long and hard as our jobs, pay our bills, and try to give a little back to the world in the form of what we create. In a few weeks it will be just one member of the team. And if our Canuck leaves Canada to be closer to a person they care about, it will very likely be zero."

Then I saw this Tweet from comic writer and my old pal Steve Horton. Steve's been freelancing for a number of years, but now looking for a more regular gig evidently. I happen to know that his wife gave birth to their first daughter back in March, so I asked if this change of direction was based on some health care issues, wanting to provide for the growing family and whatnot. While it's not the only reason, they confirmed that it's a big one as they can't afford the $1,000 per month it would cost.

I've certainly been interested in the current health care debate, as much of the U.S. is right now. I've never had any major problems myself, but I've also never been without health care. (All of this comic related stuff I do is done in my spare time; I keep a regular 8-5 job because of the relative security it provides.) It's an issue that's hitting closer and closer to home, almost with each passing day. If you look around -- especially if you have any dealings with the comic book industry -- you will almost certainly know people who are actively being impacted by this issue right now.

I've known the U.S. health care system has been botched for years, but it really has reached the breaking point. How about you call your Congressman and see if they can actually do something for a change?
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