Sure, the words “porn” and “health care” may conjure up images like the one above for most of us, but let’s get serious here, shall we?
Since Hollie Stevens, award-winning adult performer and truly beautiful human being, tragically and passed away far too young a week and a half ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about the issue of health care for adult industry professionals and sex workers. According to many reports, Stevens, who had been battling breast cancer for almost a year and a half, simply couldn’t afford the treatments that she needed to stay healthy–and to stay alive. I know there were many fundraisers for her cause, spearheaded mainly by her colleagues in the adult industry, but obviously, in the end, there weren’t enough resources available to her. Of course, cancer isn’t something that all the money in the world can fix, but this state of affairs raised a big question in my mind and I’m sure in the minds of others.
How do sex workers–porn stars, escorts, and everyone else–take care of their health? There’s no union to provide health care, and the overwhelming majority of people working in adult entertainment or the larger sex work field are independent contractors with no “employer” to provide coverage. I’d guess that some of the most successful might be able to purchase independent health insurance plans and/or cover their costs when they come up, but I know that most porn performers, at least, don’t have the kind of money to handle major health expenses like, say, cancer.
I’m wondering if health insurance companies are generally willing to insure people who work in the sex industry–even if your STD status is rigorously monitored and you stay in excellent physical shape because your line of work demands it, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it’s very difficult and very expensive for sex workers to find a company willing to cover the “liability” of their line of work. Or am I totally wrong? Can sex workers and porn stars get coverage under the Freelancers Union plan? Can they afford to pay their bills, or are they among the millions of Americans who just hope they don’t get sick?
I’ve asked a number of porn stars this question and have gotten some varying replies, but I think I may reach out to more people to ask this specific question soon. This is an important issue and one that may need exploding, especially given all the ruckus going on in Congress and elsewhere about Obamacare. Would Obamacare help porn stars? And if so, is that one more thing for Republicans to freak out about, and liberals to giggle with glee about?
Anyone out there reading with links, resources, or personal stories, please feel free to share them in the comments or e-mail them to me! firstname.lastname@example.org