â€œHealth insurance reform has been discussed for over ten yearsâ€”it is time to stop talking and do something, even if that something is not perfect. People, especially small business owners, need help now.â€
That was the core of the message delivered Wednesday, March 14, to the House Small Business Committee hearing on Challenges and Solutions to Health Insurance Coverage for Small Businesses. This message was brought by four photography associations, Professional Photographers of America (PPA), Society of Sports & Events Photographers (SEP), Commercial Photographers International (CPI), and Student Photographic Society (SPS), not the usual proponents for health insurance in many peopleâ€™s eyes. Many picture photographers as only being concerned with copyright issues.
â€œHealth insurance and health care are some of our memberâ€™s top concerns,â€ stated Jack Reznicki, PPA President. He added, â€œone of the most important things we do for our members is voice their concerns and ensure that our elected representatives understand how important this and copyright protection are to professional photographers. Working with our partner organizations, we are able to deliver a louder and firmer message.â€
That loud and firm message was also delivered separately to individual staff members of the House Small Business Committee by a lobbying team representing PPA, SEP, CPI and SPS members wanting to stress the importance of health insurance access to their members.
Why is health insurance such an issue with photographers now? Research indicates that only about a third of professional photographers have coverage through their business (9% are uninsured and 6% are insured through a government program like Medicaid). A few (15%) rely on a second job in order to obtain health insurance. The remaining professional photographers obtain health insurance through a spouseâ€™s employer (33%) or through their photography employer (2%). Of those few with coverage through their own business, almost half (45%) saw double-digit premium increases this yearâ€¦and a significant number (12%) are dealing with increases over 20%.
This news should strike fear in the hearts and pocketbooks of any small business owner. Luckily, professional photographers in PPA, SEP, CPI, and SPS have a dedicated force to speak on their behalf.
â€œWe are gratified with the response we received from the House Committee staff,â€ stated Al Hopper, Director of Membership, Copyright & Government Affairs. â€œWe are very pleased that Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH) are making this a top priority of the Committee this year.â€
A copy of the full written testimony submitted by PPA, SEP, CPI and SPS can be found at www.copyrightdefense.com.
Professional Photographers of America (PPA), a worldwide association, exists to assist its more than 18,000 members in achieving their professional, artistic, and fraternal goals; to promote public awareness of the profession; and to advance the making of images in all of its disciplines as an art, a science and a visual recorder of history. For more information, visit www.PPA.com.
The Society of Sport & Event Photographers (SEP) is a private, non-profit association dedicated exclusively to serving the needs of sport and event photographers. SEP marshals the resources of the event photography industry and delivers them to its members via their exclusive online content, Action News publication and live events. For more information, visit www.SEPsociety.com.
Commercial Photographers International (CPI) is an energetic, non-profit membership organization focused on the changing needs of commercial photographers. Led by successful commercial photographer volunteers and a skilled professional staff, CPI has put together information, resources and materials for photographers in this rapidly changing industry. For more information, visit www.MyCPI.com.
The Student Photographic Society (SPS) was founded in 1999 to provide career-building resources, networking opportunities, and information resources to photography students. For more information, visit http://studentphoto.com.