Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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Washington, DC — March 23, 2010 — Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit for advancing the arts, commends Congress on passing comprehensive health care reform legislation. This bill ensures that the nation’s artists and arts workers will now receive increased access to the health coverage they deserve. The final legislation included major reform policies supported by Americans for the Arts and its national health care coalition of 20 other arts organizations.
In August 2009, Americans for the Arts and the arts coalition called on Congress to support a bill that would help financially-strapped nonprofit arts organizations reduce rising health insurance costs for their employees without having to cut to existing benefits and staff. The bill signed today by President Obama provides tax credits for small businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 25 full-time employees and average salaries less than $50,000. The provision will have a positive impact on the nation’s 668,000 nonprofit and for-profit arts businesses in the U.S. that employ 2.9 million people and many of which are small businesses. A recent Congressional Research Service study reported that more than half of all nonprofits have fewer than 10 employees and 65 percent have fewer than 25 employees.
As the legislation is enacted, Americans for the Arts is also working to ensure that national health benefit exchange provisions include individual artists and cultural nonprofit organizations that are currently excluded for all practical purposes from employer-based insurance plans.
“At a time when the economic crisis has affected the cultural sector as dramatically as it has the millions of unemployed and uninsured Americans, this legislation is welcome news for the arts organizations of America,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “After decades of being locked out of group health care coverage options or faced with a high-cost burden for insurance, the more than two million U.S. arts workers now have access to the health care they rightly deserve. The new cost-savings for small businesses will also enable nonprofit arts organizations to produce and present more programs to serve their communities.”
On April 13, Americans for the Arts, in conjunction with the Congressional Arts Caucus and more than 70 national co-sponsors, will celebrate Arts Advocacy Day 2010. Nearly 400 arts advocates from across the nation are expected to meet with their representatives on Capitol Hill, calling on them to support arts-friendly legislation and policies, including the support of creative arts in health care programs to improve the quality of health care services.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With offices in Washington, DC, and New York City, Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Visit us online at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.