Published Oct 23, 2009While many are applauding Barack Obama's efforts toward a public health care option in the United States, not everyone sees it as the great hope it could be. Take, for example, singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt, who has been paralyzed from the waist down since a car accident at the age of 18.
In a recent interview with Spinner, Chesnutt called Obama's plans "kind of a joke," saying, "We need to target health care costs, not just insurance for everyone. Why are our health care costs out of control? If [Obama] had the public option, that would not do a thing to bring down health care costs."
If anyone knows about those costs, it's Chesnutt, who's currently facing a lawsuit from his hospital. "Right now, I'm in huge trouble, in that the hospital is suing me for $35,000, which is terrifying, and the rub is that I have health insurance," he said. "I have hospitalization insurance, for which I pay almost $500 a month, and then on top of that I still owe the hospital $35,000. That is truly an insane system. I did everything right and I'm still under the gun."
Back in 1996, Chesnutt was the subject of a big-name benefit compilation called Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation. The album featured contributions from the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M., Garbage and the Indigo Girls, but Chesnutt's insurance was covering his personal bills back then, so the money was donated to those with similar problems.
Now, Chestnutt has approached the people behind the compilation to help with his health care issues. "They were just like, 'Woah! That's too big of a problem for us - you're going to have to talk to somebody else about that,'" he said.
Hopefully, Chesnutt's busy work schedule can bring in some much-needed medical funds. He just released At the Cut in September, and has another LP produced by Jonathan Richman on the horizon.