Amanda Palmer, a musician from the band The Dresden Dolls, was riding the train last night when she tweeted a story about not having insurance.
“most small-to-mid-level musicians i know don’t have health insurance,” she wrote. “some musicians find tricky ways, some pay, most take the risk & pray. when i was in my early twenties, buying my own insurance would have been equal half my rent. it just didn’t seem like an option. my parents had just watched the death of my step-brother (uninsured when stricken with a disease) almost destroy the family bank, and so they DEMANDED i get insurance.”
Her followers responded in droves with tweets about their own stories of not having insurance. And so Palmer followed up:
quick twitter poll. 1) COUNTRY?! 2) profession? 3) insured? 4) if not, why not, if so, at what cost per month (or covered by job)?
The message went viral, and Palmer ended up with thousands upon thousands of responses from people around the world explaining how much their insurance cost — if they had any at all:
Palmer said that she’s currently working with a Twitter follower to compile all of the data she received, and she plans to post more information when it’s ready. But she did share some preliminary findings from her first 156 respondents, including the fact that about a quarter of the U.S. respondents did not have health insurance due to its high cost. Her findings are about in line with what has been reported about the uninsured: Many cannot afford insurance, or haven’t factored into their budgets spending such a huge amount on health care. On the bright side, the stories of the uninsured could change once Obamacare is fully in place. The landmark health care reform law is expected to decrease the number of people who lack coverage by 33 million.