Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rock 'n' Wellness: Sad News

Jay Bennett via

Jay Bennett, former member of the alt-country band Wilco, died at age 45. He had struggled with drug addiction in the past and was in severe pain due to chronic knee and hip damage, according to his MySpace page. He was in need of hip replacement surgery and did not have any health insurance. Did lack of health insurance contribute to his death? asked that question.

Lack of insurance is a national problem, not just confined to the music world, but there are countless numbers of people struggling to make it as artists and performers, unable to afford health care. There are options to join unions if they qualify and organizations such as Future of Music Coalition and MusiCares provide resources for musicians who are in need of advocacy, financial, and medical support. The Artists Health Insurance Resource Center is a national database of health care resources for artists, performers, and freelancers.

If anyone has other resources for artists in need of health care, please post a comment!

Future of Music Coalition
The Artists Health Insurance Resource Center
Health Alliance for Austin Musicians

UPDATE 07/01/09
Last week, an Illinois coroner's office revealed the cause of Jay Bennett's death was an accidental fentanyl overdose. Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate analgesic that is often prescribed for severe and chronic pain that has a high addiction potential. It binds to receptors in the brain to decrease not only the pain, but also the emotional response to pain.

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