46 MILLION ART AUCTION AND BENEFIT
WHAT: An online art auction and fundraiser to promote universal health care, specifically a public option to compete with the insurance industry and keep them honest. Money raised will be donated to Democracy for America Now, a national advocacy group that is running television ads to push the Public Option in democratic swing districts and offering support to congress members who take a stand for the policy.
WHO: The fundraiser is being organized by Anders Nilsen, a Chicago based artist and graphic novelist featuring nationally and internationally recognized cartoonists and artists around the country. Participating artists include: John Porcellino, Genevieve Elverum, Chris Ware, Ivan Brunetti, Dan Clowes, Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie), Jeffrey Brown, Paul Hornschemeier, Todd Baxter, Sonnenzimmer Print Studio, Adam Henry, Kevin Huizenga, Jay Ryan (The Bird Machine Print Studio), Lynda Barry, Lilli Carre, David Heatley, Kyle Obriot, Stephen Eichhorn, Buenaventura Press, Sammy Harkham and the organizer, Anders Nilsen.
WHY: In light of recent events, this is a desperate attempt to do something rather than just sit idly by while a few giant corporations with something to lose goad a gullible few into scaring their elected representatives away from real change. We’re doing this because the richest country the planet has ever known has no excuse to not take care of its citizens. We rank 37th in the world in overall health care performance, according to the World Health Organization. Right now a million Americans declare bankruptcy every year because of lack of adequate insurance. Hundreds of billions of dollars are wasted on redundant and impenetrable insurance company bureaucracies. We spend vastly more money on health care and wind up with far worse outcomes than other comparable countries. For many of the artists involved in this auction, a real health care bill is exactly the kind of reason we voted for Obama and Congressional Democratic majorities last Fall. To sit by and do nothing while Obama’s first significant initiative twists in the wind is simply not an option.
WHY #2: Like millions of other working Americans, a lot of artists and freelancers in this country are denied affordable health insurance simply because they are self employed. Making access to health care dependant on a person’s employment status is arbitrary and unsustainable.
WHERE: The auction of the artists’ works will be held on Ebay. To find them and to bid go to ebay.com and search for 46 Million.
WHEN: The auction will start Thursday August 27th and end Sunday September 6th, in 10-minute increments starting at 2pm CST.
A FEW QUOTES FROM THE ARTISTS:
Jeffrey Brown: I'm not sure why I have health insurance now. Because I'm self employed with a pre-existing condition (even though that condition was diagnosed fifteen years ago and has been in remission since), the only health insurance I can get is the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance plan with a $5,200 deductible. Basically, I have it in case I'm in some horrific accident or something. I'm guessing there's some fine print buried in my documentation that would release them from reliability to pay out on anything anyway. I've been burned before by that - finding out that vaccines are not considered 'essential care' and being told that using a midwife for birth was covered, only to be denied because there wasn't a doctor in the room at the time of birth. Anyway, the past couple years I've spent something like $8,000 in health insurance, and in return, the health insurance companies have paid for me... um... nothing.
Ivan Brunetti: As someone with a lot of pre-existing conditions, I wouldn't be able to purchase my own insurance plan, at least nothing of decent quality or anywhere close to affordable. I rely, necessarily, on my employer for my health insurance. I have a lot of preexisting conditions and have been rejected when I tried to purchase my own insurance plan in the past.
Lynda Barry: The motivation behind the health care hoo-ha is difficult to understand. I can’t get my mind around it at all, can’t understand what’s driving it. I’ve spent the last six years living in a very conservative area, and many of my good friends are hard core Republicans, but not a single one of them is having the reaction I’ve seen in the press. That screaming shouting hatred. Maybe they hide it from me because I’m such a lefty liberal, but we’ve always been able to speak frankly about everything else. So I don’t get it. I don’t know who the furious and screaming people are at all.
Anders Nilsen: My girlfriend in March of 2005 was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and died that November. She had endured symptoms for several months before it became too much to bear and we went to the county hospital. Had she had insurance I have no doubt that her condition would have been caught earlier. That was several years ago and I have moved on and am now very happily married. My wife has insurance, supposedly very good insurance, through her present job, but the bureaucratic nonsense the insurance company puts her through every time she sees a doctor, and the amount of stuff that should be covered but isn’t, is astounding.
Genevieve Elverum: I know too many people who went through the warp of needing serious medical attention and dangerously delayed it or got themselves in deep financial turmoil because they couldn't afford insurance. I myself gave up my right to receive free healthcare when I moved across the border from Canada. It's kind of terrifying sometimes.