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Advocacy & Policy for Community Health

2023 Colorado Legislative Session: Summary

Arts Alliance for Health Equity Advocacy Survey: Findings

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Health Insurance for Arts Professionals:
What we know and don’t know about coverage in Colorado

It is widely understood that health insurance is essential to accessing high quality health care; policy changes over the past decade have expanded access to both Medicaid and private health insurance. Nationally, and in Colorado there is insufficient data on how artists obtain their health insurance. Surveillance through surveys or other data collection approaches could help with understanding coverage and access and inform an arts policy and advocacy agenda to achieve more equitable health.

Health Insurance for Arts Professionals:
Actions to keep artists covered through Health First Colorado (Medicaid)

Several policy changes over the past decade have expanded access to Medicaid. COVID-related policies had precluded states from disenrolling anyone. This has changed. Now and for the next year, states are required to review all who are enrolled to see if they are still eligible. There is some evidence that artists rely on Medicaid more than those in other professions and, they like all others, need to act so they retain enrollment if eligible. The arts community has the trust to spread the word and help people complete their eligibility packets.

Creating an Arts Education Pipeline with Pathways to Employment

Arts in schools improves educational outcomes. Current disparities exist in educational outcomes for children from underserved backgrounds in urban and rural communities. Embedding arts and culture in school curricula can have a powerful and lasting impact on young people of color who live in environments with limited health resources and job opportunities as increased funding for arts education has been shown to help youth complete more schooling, gain access to better employment opportunities, and promote economic growth. Supporting and advocating for policies that support inclusion of the arts in schools can move us toward health equity.  

Arts and Advocacy for Youth Mental Health

Colorado health leaders declared a State of Emergency for youth mental health in the spring of 2021. Inequities in receiving mental health care are largely caused by policies, environments, and systems. Art can provide healing through self-expression, capture personal and collective narratives, and influence policy as well as inform the community of potential policy changes to promote mental health, decrease stigma, and educate key decision makers. The voice of artists – their stories and performances – are needed to advocate for youth mental health resources. 

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