Jensen Guitars Guitar Store Restores Old Guitars and Donates Them to Musicians APR 14, 2016 – I stumbled upon this wonderful story on TimesCall.com today, and just had to share it. Eric and Janey Handmacher residents of California, have a child Melody that was diagnosed with Aicardi Syndrome. After the Sick Care system failed them and…
Musician, Activist and Spinal Doctor “Dr. Dan” Wants to Save Blues Musicians FEB 15, 2015 – With the deadline to enroll in Obamacare here, there are hundreds of events all over the country this weekend to get people who haven’t enrolled in Obamacare signed up for some kind of health insurance at the last minute. You know…
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Most Musicians Have Always Gone Without Health Insurance JAN 28, 2015 – Up till now, most musicians have always just gone without health insurance, because individual health insurance plans were very expensive. Like many Americans, they would use the emergency rooms, which is of course more expensive and drives up healthcare costs. The Affordable Care…
Freedom for Cigarettes but No Freedom for Medical Cannabis? – Veteran Discusses His Use of Medical Cannabis to Treat PTSD
APR 8, 2014 – JTMP attended the National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference 2014 here in DC sponsored by Americans for Safe Access and a few others to bring together medical cannabis patients, activists, doctors, botanical experts, food and drug law advocates, medical cannabis business industry representatives, and others to form a plan on how we move forward to expand the rights of patients nationwide who will benefit from medical cannabis treatment. Although things are moving "fast", Maryland passed a Medical Cannabis Program Bill yesterday while the conference was happening, there are still a lot of battles to fight. 48 of the 50 states (and DC, territories, etc.) remain in the insane 1920's prohibitionist mode and deny millions of patients the medicine they need to ease their suffering, and in some cases HEAL. JTMP will have a video of a man whose wife was HEALED by medical cannabis, and he has the lab test results to prove it, so stand by for that also. This is an exciting week.
I haven't yet finished the Unity Conference 2014 video series I am going to be releasing this week of panels discussing botanical medicines, cannabinoids and other exciting topics at the conference (stand by!); but we did an interview with TJ Thompson, a Navy vet who uses medical cannabis to treat his PTSD, and it was so moving I just had to get it out. TJ lives in Virginia, and even though a recent Quinnipiac Poll shows 84% of Virginians want this vet who has served his country to have his medicine available to him, many elected officials continue to resist enacting a medical cannabis program. Which brings me to the topic of my blog. Last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel raised the hackles of many by suggesting (gasp!) that the US government not sell poison (cigarettes) through the PX and commissaries on US military bases. (I am an army brat so I know what those are, but for those who don't know they are basically the grocery and drug store on base) Secretary Hagel pointed out that tobacco related illnesses cost the military well over a billion dollars a year in health care costs to treat. So fiscal conservatives who hate wasteful government spending rallied behind him right? Well, not quite. People started screaming that the "freedom for the soldier to buy cigarettes is being infringed!" and foam came out of their mouth. When I saw how medical cannabis is helping this vet TJ below treat his PTSD I thought: Will these same people fight for this and other vets, active duty, and even regular citizens the freedom to have safe and easy access to legal medical cannabis, as hard as they fight for that soldier or vet to have poison (cigarettes)? (Spoiler: They won't) What are your thoughts? Start up a discussion on our JTMP Facebook Page! Watch our interview of TJ Thompson below.
JAN 13, 2014 – A campaign called "Sing Forward" to raise awareness about the Affordable Care Act has been launched out of Wisconsin by Musicians For Health, urging fellow musicians to enroll in a health insurance program at the HealthCare.gov website. One of the main musical-activists leading the way is Anna Vogelzang, and she is letting other musicians know one can get health insurance through the exchanges for as little as $25-$50 a month; a catastrophic plan can be as little as $10 a month. There is even a song they wrote for the campaign titled "Sing Forward!", and they have the lyric sheet and a video to sing along with. They have a REMIX contest where you can submit your remix of the song, and the prizes are cash, tickets and other cool stuff. I might submit one myself! Check out the video of "Sing Forward" below, and check out the Sing Forward! website here where you can even punch in your zip code and find an affordable health plan. If you ever drop your amp on your foot and break your toe you will need it.
JAN 1, 2014 – Happy New Year everyone! 2014 is going to be an exciting year for progressive issues. Medical marijuana is being enacted across the country in various states, and gay marriage is winning many key battles is being accepted more and more. JTMP urges our supporters to stay active in 2014 and push for strengthening unions, raising the minimum wage, and protect the environment among other progressive issues.
One important issue and key civil right is access to quality and affordable health care for all, and the Affordable Care Act (or "Obamacare" as it is now affectionately known) is a great step in that direction. Obamacare is "born" today and is officially launched. Starting today, millions of Americans cannot be kicked off their health care policy by a greedy insurance company. No longer can someone be denied access to health insurance because of a preexisting condition. As of today, heath insurance companies cannot gouge sick and elderly customers with higher payments. Many health care issues that were not covered before, such as hospitalizations and mental health, are now required to be covered by all policies.
We still have a way to go to assure that every single American has easy and affordable access to high quality health care, but this is a huge step in the right direction. JTMP urges our supporters to push their elected representatives to enact Medicare For All. H.R. 676 is a good place to start. Read more on the Key Features of the Affordable Care Act on the HHS.gov website here. JTMP reminds everyone to purchase health insurance through the exchanges, or you will face a tax penalty. Head on over to HealthCare.gov and sign up! (photo credit: Pete Souza/CC)
NOV 26, 2013 – I found this small clip of a skit by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood at the CMA Awards poking fun of the rollout of the Affordable Health Care Act, or the "AHCA" as I like to call it. Many folks call it "Obamacare", but the two poked fun of the horrendous rollout of the website part of the health care exchanges to the tune of an old George Strait song. Maybe if the Teabagger Republican governors would have cooperated more with the federal government on the exchanges, and worked for their constituents instead of a political party (a small one I might add), then maybe the rollout would have been smoother. Watch for the reaction of Taylor Swift, who is a big President Obama supporter. Lets hope they get it all fixed in the next few weeks, and get the federal exchanges humming as well as the state exchanges, where enrollment is surging. Those are the states where the governor cooperated and didn't suffer from OHDS: Obama Hatred Derangement Syndrome. The website is actually handling a fair clip of people, and will get better. If you do not have health insurance either thorough Medicaid or your employment, many will find they will be covered by Medicaid, qualify for subsidies to help pay for it, or find a cheap health insurance plan through the exchanges for as little as $20 a month. You may need it one day. Visit HealthCare.gov today to see your options.
NOV 19, 2013 – Musician and filmmaker Julie Sokolow saw firsthand the problem her and other musicians and artists in the Pittsburgh area having the same problem she had, trying to find an affordable health care insurance plan for a single person. So, she formed an organization called "Healthy Artists" to push for a single-payer health care system. After the ACA, or "Obamacare", was rolled out she started using the organization to help musicians and artists not only learn more about the Affordable Health Care Act, but also help it roll out more smoothly and be successful. Musicians and artists have a special stake in the successful roll out and implementation of the ACA, because many musicians are self-employed and have never even thought about health care and insurance. Read more about Julie in her work on PittNews.com here, and check out Healthy Artists website here. Watch musician-activist Matt Dull from the group Young Brokaw talk about getting a bill for $1200 because he had no health insurance after he slipped on the ice. He talks about the need for everyone to have health insurance, so please sign up if you do not have health insurance yet. In some states it is very low cost, and many people will get subsidies to help you pay for it. JTMP asks our musician supporters to sign up for health care insurance through the exchanges by December 14th, 2013 by going to the government's health care insurance exchange website here.
AUG 26, 2013 – The Congressional Budget Office just released health insurance premium numbers for 36 states at the exchanges set up by the federal government, and they have come in at around 16% lower than expected. The new law will take effect in just 5 days, and this is good news, for it will make people feel more at ease and help them afford health insurance once the mandate kicks in. Yes folks, after October 1, 2013, one must do the responsible thing and purchase health insurance. The good new is the large pool and the exchanges might bring the prices down to a really affordable level; some people will just pay around $100 a year for health insurance. To read more on the low numbers, check out MotherJones.com here.
For those of of you who must buy health insurance after October 1st and need help, the Obama administration has set up the HealthCare.gov website. Just punch in your information, and they will tell you how you find affordable insurance; or they will let you know if you qualify for subsidies to help you pay for your health insurance. Check out the HealthCare.gov website for more information.
MAY 20, 2013 – Two musicians lost their battle with cancer yesterday. One was the keyboardist Ray Manzerek from the iconic band The Doors, who lost his battle with a long fight with bile duct cancer. Manzerek was part of the 60s music social revolution, but spent his last years as a simple farmer with his family. The Doors guitarist Robby Krieger said in a statement, "I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today. I'm just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him." The family asks that in lieu of flowers that people help out the great cancer-fighting organization, "Stand Up To Cancer". (photo credit: KingTrivia/CC)
Also, on a very sad note, Zach Sobeich, a Minnesota musician who battled osteosarcama and whose video and song "Clouds" went viral, lost his battle with cancer and also passed at home surrounded by family and his girlfriend. His song "Clouds" was all about facing his mortality, and he had said, "I want everyone to know you don't have to find out you're dying to start living." His family said in a statement, “It is with heavy heart that we announce the passing of our son Zachary David Sobiech. Our family has been blessed not only by his amazing presence in our lives, but also by the love and support of our family and friends and by so many people in the community. In particular we'd like to thank those people who listened with their hearts and helped Zach bring his message and his music to the world.” Zach had worked closely with Children's Cancer Research Fund, and a group of celebrities had lip-synced his song in an effort to help raise funds for his struggle earlier this month. Zach's video of his song "Clouds" has received over 3 million views, and you can watch it below. JTMP calls for more funding for cancer research, and Medicare For All, so people don't have to fight bill collectors and health insurance companies while they fight cancer.