Percent uninsured Americans up but under age 26 going down, Bronx hospital allows artists to trade art for health care

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A new Gallup poll finds that 17.1% of Americans were uninsured last year, up every year since 2008 when it was 14.8%. The rates in December and July of last year were tied for the highest ever recorded by Gallup at 17.7%. The bright spot was a decline of 2.7% in the uninsured rate among Americans ages 18 to 26. Still the most likely to be uninsured at 24.5%, their rate was the only group of Americans that declined since 2008. The decrease coincided with implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s provision allowing children to age 26 to remain covered on their parents’ policies.

Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx has launched the “Lincoln Art Exchange” allowing New York City artists to barter their art for medical care. Artists are a critical component of the quality of life in a community but often are inconsistently employed and average $24,000 in annual income, making health coverage difficult. Under the program artists can earn “health credits” for providing creative services to use for doctor visits, dental care, prescriptions, emergency room visits and other care at the hospital. Artists gain approximately $40 in health care services for every hour of creative services.