Staying Alive

According to a recent poll of 268 artists from across the US conducted by the School of Arts and Culture of the University of the Poor, only 7.2% of respondents have health coverage through their artistic/cultural work. The largest group, 38.4%, has no coverage at all. But there is hope, as some artist groups tackle insurance on their own terms.
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For the past twelve years, I have been living with ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease of the large intestine that causes chronic bleeding, anemia, and a host of other terrible symptoms that can make each day a challenge. For many of these past twelve years, I have been without health care coverage, relying on free clinics in New York City and lower-cost generic drugs that in my case did not prove to be nearly as effective as their more expensive counterparts.

This past April, my health took a serious downward turn, and I was hospitalized for nearly sixty days due to chronic hemorrhaging. It was my third extended hospital stay. While I am currently doing magnificently and have returned—finally!—to something resembling normalcy, I opened my mailbox today to discover the financial toll of my hospitalization.

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Howard Emanuel
About the Author
As an actor, Howard Emanuel has appeared across the USA in regional theatres ranging from The Paper Mill Playhouse and The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey to the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and Houston's Theatre Under The Stars. As a playwright, he has recently completed his first full-length work, Last Supper. As a novelist, his urban fiction manuscript, Naked Angels, is currently being shopped to various publishing houses. He is currently hard at work on his second and third plays. He holds a B.F.A. in Acting from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts.