Solving the Musicians' Dilemma: Duplicating the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians in other Music Cites
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Austin, Texas, “The Live Music Capital of the World,” is home to more than 8,000 working musicians. Austin’s music industry provides upwards of 10,000 jobs and contributes nearly $1 billion annually to the local economy, yet most Austin musicians live without adequate healthcare. Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) is a nonprofit organization that brings together healthcare providers, local businesses, and community donors in a network providing basic preventive health services to this essential segment of the community (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, n.d.). Medical indigence – the inability to pay for healthcare services without the risk of financial crisis – plagues 33 percent of all working musicians (Future of Music Coalition, 2010). When a medically indigent patient is treated in an emergency room, services are covered by municipal funds. Nonprofit organizations like HAAM can save the community tax dollars. Chicago, Illinois, is home to more than 80,000 musicians and a music scene that contributes more than 65,000 jobs and $15 billion annually to Chicago’s economy (Rothfield, 2006). There is not an organization that supports musicians in Chicago with affordable healthcare. This thesis explores HAAM’s history and services, and proposes a template for a nonprofit musicians’ healthcare network that allows music advocates in American cities to provide this service for their working musicians. Chicago is an ideal case study for the template.