A couple of months ago, I met a brilliant artist, photographer, and film producer named Daniel Menges. He had graduated from SUNY Purchase in 2010, flown to Portland, OR to produce an indie film based on a Raymond Carver short story, and then headed to Pittsburgh, PA in late 2011 to try on this affordable, rising-star-of-a-city. Looking to produce video/film work, get acquainted with Pittsburgh’s growing arts scene, and advocate for social justice, he joined up with Healthy Artists - a small organization I run that produces an original documentary series, in which artists discuss their lives, their work, and their struggles with the current, broken health care system.
For the past few months, Daniel and I had been planning a number of video shoots and side projects. Just as some of our bigger plans were about to come to fruition, Daniel got in a bike accident that left him with three fractured vertebrae. We learned that on top of a world of physical pain and the inability to work for a matter of months, Daniel would have landed in $10,000 worth of debt if not for the Affordable Care Act.
We support single-payer, but had to acknowledge the Affordable Care Act’s role in saving Daniel from a grave financial burden and in helping the other 3.1 million young adults stay on their parent’s health insurance until age 26. “Obamacare”, as it’s often dismissively called, is not perfect, but its repeal would have been devastating.
We scrambled to assemble a video in support of the ACA and circulate it the week prior to decision time. “Victory for the American People!” exclaimed House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, when the verdict arrived. We couldn’t be more thrilled that the entire healthcare law has been upheld. However, now it’s time to get back to work on realizing what the rest of the industrialized world’s already got: universal health care.