Good Job. Good Health Benefits. Insurance is Tethered to Employment


(Interview 2/2010. Oil on canvas, 40 ins. x 30 ins.)



Update 2021

Good Lord. What was I thinking? A one word portrait story? Hmmm...I remember now.

The plan for Art As Social Inquiry's healthcare series has always been to include all the ways we Americans access healthcare. A friend of mine agreed to sit for a portrait representing someone who had a very good job with excellent health benefits in 2010.


At the start of this painting series, I thought the portrait stories would do most of the talking without me having to explain too much. I imagined the stories sitting side-by-side like figurines on a shelf-- some chipped, others in pieces, and a few sparkling in the noon sun.


I thought the disparities in access to healthcare would become apparent. In 2010 when I painted this portrait, over 48 million were uninsured. I wanted to underscore the lack for those not getting good employer-sponsored health insurance.


I suppose I wrote the one word story to create a dramatic pause so the audience could catch their breath and take in just how bad getting healthcare was for some and not a problem for others. And perhaps the audience would be moved to care about making the system work for everyone.


About half the population has employer-provided health insurance today. Here is the breakdown from the highlights of the 2020 census:

In 2020, private health insurance coverage continued to be more prevalent than public coverage at 66.5 percent and 34.8 percent, respectively. Of the subtypes of health insurance coverage, employment-based insurance was the most common, covering 54.4 percent of the population for some or all of the calendar year, followed by Medicare (18.4 percent), Medicaid (17.8 percent), direct-purchase coverage (10.5 percent), TRICARE (2.8 percent), and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) coverage (0.9 percent).



Artist Note (3/2012)

Thanks to my friend for representing people who have very good jobs and very good insurance.

 

A study. Oil on canvas, 24 ins. x 20 ins.

Senior Director for Information Systems at a City Hospital, Age 57


Insured.