New York -- Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, has issued a statement in response to Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) reintroducing their bill to create a new public health insurance option. This option would use Medicare’s network of doctors and reimbursement rates to offer low-cost coverage, expanding care to between 2 and 6 million Americans.
“The Medicare-X Choice Act would create a public option by expanding on the Affordable Care Act and Medicare. The bill would provide immediate relief to so many Equity members and others in the arts industry by expanding coverage,” said Brandon Lorenz, national director of communications and public policy for Actors’ Equity Association. “Theatre has now been virtually shut down for nearly a year, and thousands of actors and stage managers have lost their health insurance without being able to work. We are grateful for the leadership of Senators Bennett and Kaine on this issue.”
Equity members earn their union insurance one week at a time that they work on contract. With nearly 100% unemployment for theatre workers, more members have been falling off of their union plan every month. The union has also been fighting for a COBRA subsidy, which would make it affordable to remain on union health insurance during a global pandemic.
ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA. www.actorsequity.org #EquityWorks
February 18, 2021