A mu­sic fest with a lit­tle medicine,

Modern Healthcare - - Front Page -

Out­liers has at­tended our share of sum­mer out­door mu­sic fes­ti­vals over the years, and we can cer­tainly tes­tify that some of the bands were about as pleas­ant as den­tal work. But what if the bands play­ing were ac­tu­ally re­ceiv­ing den­tal work, on site?

In up­state New York this Oc­to­ber, artists and health­care providers are team­ing up for a “Band-Aid so­lu­tion” to the per­sis­tent prob­lem of unin­sured artists not re­ceiv­ing med­i­cal care.

At the sec­ond an­nual O+ Fes­ti­val (pro­nounced as “O-pos­i­tive,” as in the blood type) in Kingston, N.Y., bands play for free and vis­ual artists do­nate their work in ex­change for the chance to re­ceive screen­ings and vouch­ers for fur­ther care from lo­cal den­tists, gen­eral doc­tors and a wide range of spe­cial­ists.

“Artists are paid, in­stead of money, in health and den­tal ser­vices by lo­cal health­care providers,” said the nar­ra­tor of a video on the O+ web­site. “It’s bands you lis­ten to on your iPod fi­nally get­ting wis­dom teeth pulled, eyes ex­am­ined and chronic pains phys­i­cal-ther­a­pized.”

Sounds like a great cause, though Out­liers would note that the O+ copy­writ­ers might have a fu­ture in the gain­fully em­ployed PR world if they can turn out slo­gans such as this one: “Bar­ter­ing the art of medicine for the medicine of art.”

The call for ex­pand­ing fed­eral health­care in­fra­struc­ture is a marked de­par­ture from Gingrich’s 13-point health­care plan an­nounced ear­lier in the cam­paign that gen­er­ally echoes the calls of con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans for the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to shrink its role in health­care. How­ever, the brain in­sti­tute would mir­ror an ear­lier push by the for­mer speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to bol­ster fed­eral health­care fund­ing at the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health. Even as con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans were seek­ing to re­duce in­creases in other types of fed­eral health­care spend­ing, Gingrich led a suc­cess­ful push that dou­bled NIH fund­ing over just five years to $27 bil­lion.

Al­though the Repub­li­can’s cam­paign did not pro­vide any es­ti­mates for the bud­get of the pro­posed in­sti­tute, Gingrich im­plied in the in­ter­view that such spend­ing would more than pay for it­self due to the loom­ing mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar cost to tax­pay­ers ex­pected from an ex­po­nen­tial in­crease in com­ing decades of aging baby boomers suf­fer­ing from Alzheimer’s.

An O+ fest poster il­lus­trates the dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing in­sured, left, and unin­sured for a mu­si­cian who has an ac­ci­dent.

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