January 1, 2014 saw most of the final stages of President Barack Obama's signature legislation, the health-care reform initiative known as both the official title of the Affordable Care Act and more derisively as Obamacare, start to be implemented. The individual mandate that requires every able person to purchase insurance or suffer a tax sent thousands to HealthCare.gov, a glitchy mess of a site that many found confusing and unworkable, though it has since improved dramatically. The State of Texas' refusal to accept the federal government's expansion of Medicaid continues to leave hundreds of thousands without coverage promised by law.
Photo by Chris Gray
Among those heavily affected by the ever-rising cost of health care are local musicians, most of whom make very little money even when working full-time hours. Three years ago, when the debate about the law was heating up prior to passage, we took an in-depth look at how the lack of a social safety net might be robbing Houston of its many musicians' full talents, while people who make it struggle to do so while providing for themselves and their families.
With the debate over and the federal government making a new push to reach younger Americans, this week's Houston Press cover story is an exploration of how exactly some of our biggest acts like The Hates and Blaggards are benefiting under the law, with some receiving coverage themselves or for a loved one for the first time in years.