"Blues sounded like how I felt…I was a lonely kid. I didn’t have any brothers and sisters. My dad had left and my mom worked, so I was alone a lot. Blues was my comforter."
John Pointer is a beat-boxing, boot-stomping singer-songwriter who also happens to have Type 1 diabetes. And like most musicians in Austin, Texas, he makes less than $16,000 per year, meaning: he can’t afford health insurance.
Having diabetes made it difficult for Pointer to find an affordable primary care doctor in Austin. He was paying several hundred dollars a month — an amount that consumed much of his take-home cash — for coverage in the state’s high-risk insurance pool.
Enter the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, or HAAM. Similar in some ways to an insurance company, the group connects with area health providers, works out reimbursement rates and helps keep out-of-pocket costs for members manageable.