Artists Take Stage for Single-Payer Health Care in Minnesota


To educate Minnesotans about the need for single-payer health care, the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition (MUHCC) held the “Artists on Stage for Health Care” at Saint Paul’s Park Square Theatre in the historic Hamm Building. The event featured local artists, singing, drawing and dancing, to broadcast the same message: the current health care system has failed them.

“A person’s health is one of the main drivers of how they view their quality of life,” says Lisa Nilles, MD, and MUHCC Acting Director. “It should be shocking to people that as a community we could make a real difference in that aspect and yet our system chooses not to.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 17 percent of Americans are not covered by health insurance. Although that number within Minnesota is slightly better – at 9 percent – it still means too many people have to make tough choices about their care.

“Families should not have to choose between paying rent and seeing a doctor,” continues Nilles. “We know that single payer health care would benefit our community in more ways than just quality of life. We think health care should be a given and have a dedicated group of people who are working towards that goal.”

1 Comment

  1. Bernice Vetsch on May 5, 2011 at 8:53 am

    In Minnesota, those who work in the arts are twice as likely to be uninsured as the general population because their incomes are often low and erratic. Those who have qualified for a state plan called MinnesotaCare, funded by a 2% tax on providers and low premiums from patients, will (if our right-wing legislature succeeds in passing its legislation) be transferred to low premium-really high deductible plans. Estimates on the number of persons that will be priced out of the health insurance market range from 95,000 to 105,000.

    The original inspiration for this event was the sight of several buskers working at a farmers market for whatever people wanted to give. We wanted our program to let them and other artists know that there is an alternative to going without health care because they can’t afford insurance. And the alternative, of course, is the Minnesota Health Plan, a single-payer plan financed by individual and business taxes that would cover every Minnesota resident. It is described in the program on view here.

    The St. Paul Neighborhood Network recorded and will telecast the event on a public access station. DVDs will be available later for any organization or individual who would like to have one as an educational (and entertaining) tool. See in a few weeks.

    Park Square Theatre most generously donated its theater and the time of technical and concessions employees. The Artists On Stage for Health Care donated their time, talent and health care stories. Others lent art for the lobby and designed flyers and programs. It’s exciting to see The Uptake’s video at this national site. Thank you!!