The Song of the Uninsured Musician

Today is the first anniversary of Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Health Care for America Act. And despite the Sound and the Fury, basic problems still remain unsolved.

Over the past year, there’s been plenty of gnashing of teeth, mostly from the GOP, well-funded by the managed care industry, which wants Obamacare repealed or killed by a lack of funds.

Hot shot Attorneys General, such as our own Kenneth Cuccinelli, are challenging the constitutionality of the law, claiming its mandate to have all Americans buy health plans goes contrary to the foundation of America. Henrico County’s Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader, is working in tandem with the “Cooch” on Capitol Hill, leading his “Young Guns” against health care reform, which he claims in unaffordable.

Let’s take a look at things a little closer to home.

On March 15, Page Wilson, a singer-songwriter from Hanover County who was well-known in Central Virginia. died of natural causes. In his 57 years, Wilson had worked the circuits with his own version of Roots music, Rockabily, zydeco, country and folk. He has helped numerous local musicians make it in a tough market and shunned selling out to the big money music interests in Nashville, Los Angeles or other cultural centers.

Wilson, whose band “Reckless Abandon” played many down-home sites, such as the Pocahontas State Park, also hosted a Saturday night public radio show out of Richmond called the “Out of the Blue Radio Revenue.” Wilson’s extremely broad playlist entertained and eduated listeners like me when at home on a Saturday night. It was one of the nice things of living in the Richmond area, even though his show was available anywhere throughthe Web.

Living the musician’s lifestyle took its toll on Wilson. He had money issues and his health deterioriated. Back in 2008, some of the muisicians he had backed hosted a concert for him called “Party for Page,” to raise money to help. “I’m on the verge of losing my house to foreclosure,” he was quoted as saying. “If the dog is hurt, the sled don’t run. And this dog is hurting right now.”

The much-maligned Obamacare does one thing — it is the only serious plan around that would provide health coverage for everyone, including self-employed types such as Page Wilson and myself. That’s why we need to have everyone buy plans — so those that do don’t end up paying for those that don’t. It’s a hard fact of life and the Obama plan has a way to help people of little means do so.

The only alternative would be universal, government health care — not a bad idea in my book, or that of many doctors I know. But the monied interests, and those beholden to the managed care firms who got their tremedous power with the last major health insurance shift in the late 1970s and 80s, are ready to defend their strong positions with lobbying bucks, with their Cantors and Cuccinelli’s in support. Neither has proposed a serious alternate plan.

It’s too late to help Page WIllson, however. He was one of 46 million Amerians who did not have health insurance and it was a factor in his death. Oh, I forgot, the right-wing loudly disputes that 46 million number, if we are to believe the American Spectator.

Funny but I don’t see any other ideas — just nit picking. As the arguments drone on, we’re losing more talented, uninsured Americans, just like Page Wilson.

Peter Galuszka

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