Austin — “the live music capital of the world” — is a lovably “weird” city and home to many musicians and artists. Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Townes Van Zandt, and Janis Joplin all called it home at one time or another. Great venues like Antone’s, the Broken Spoke, and Stubb’s kept the music scene alive for years, and as it continues to evolve, they serve as storied reminders of what has always made Austin great — a vibrant arts scene.
When I was in law school at the University of Texas, I remember rushing to buy the 2-CD KHYI set each year for the best music of the day. But I also recall that the proceeds from the sale of the set went to providing health insurance for artists. This was a way people in the arts community looked after one another.
Unfortunately, while the creative community remains alive in Austin, the rising cost of housing, driven both by demand and by property taxes, and the skyrocketing cost of health care are crushing many of the artists who live gig to gig and paycheck to paycheck. Since 2013, insurance premiums have gone up more than 60 percent across the board, while private-market premiums have doubled and even tripled. While Washington “leaders” dither and waste time, some creative doctors are using a fast-growing direct-primary-care (DPC) model that may well save the day.