Artists to take to St. Paul stage for health care


“Artists as a whole make less money professionally. And with the high cost of insurance they end up in emergency rooms for care because they do not have coverage.” said Papa John Kolstad, musician and political activist.  “This disenfranchises our artists.  We want to give them the opportunity to learn about the Minnesota Health Plan on May 2 and become a spokesperson for MHP.”

The event, “Artist on Stage for Health Care” will take place at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul on Monday, May 2.  This event is entertainment and education for the Minnesota artist community.  It is free and open to the public.

A survey conducted in 2007 by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, found after surveying 20,000 artists in Minnesota, that 14 percent are uninsured.  “The newest group now that is not insured are young people,” said Ellen Lafans, RN, co-chair for the Campaign for Minnesota Health Plan.  “We are all at risk with our health care whether you have or have not any insurance.  You can have health insurance but that does not mean you have health care.”   

Artists Michael Hauser, Kevin Kling, Papa John Kolstad, Pop Wagner, and the Biddies Galore Irish dancers will entertain at the May 2 event, and some of the performers will share their health care stories.  Patricia Schwartz and Janet O’Connell will exhibit their drawings and paintings.

Speakers will include Senator John Marty, State Representative Jeff Hayden, Joel Clemmer, and Lisa Nilles, the acting director of the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition. 

“Our present insurance system is not sustainable,” said Papa John Kolstad.  Advocates for Minnesota Health Plan describe MHP as a universal single-payer, single plan system that would 100 percent of Minnesota residents for their medical needs.  Revenues would come from state government, businesses and individuals.  Individuals would contribute to the premium based on their ability to pay.  MHP believes that health care is a basic right of all people.

Presently there is bill (HF51/SF8) before the Minnesota Legislature called Minnesota Health Plan.  Senator John Marty has introduced legislation requiring the state to contract directly with health care providers, thus bypassing HMOs in delivering health care for low income Minnesotans.  The administrative savings would allow more money to be spent on health care.

For further information contact: Ellen Lafans, co-chair for Campaign for the Minnesota Health Plan, at or call 651-353-2741  

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