I don't want to tell Actors Theatre of Louisville what their politics should be, but...
As we all know the name Humana is forever associated with the ATL's prestigious new play festival. I don't know how it happened, frankly, but for some reason, theatre folk and critics who never even travel outside of the NY, New England (or maybe Chicago) areas descend upon Louisville, KY to see a handpicked few new plays that immediately garner national attention for their authors. And it's all sponsored by the Humana insurance company.
Well I know it's tough times for retaining corporate sponsorship at all. And I suppose we should be grateful to Humana for all this support over the years.
But then I read this at Huffington Post:
Boldface mine. Sarcastic cross-outs by HuffPo correspondent Dawn Teo.
Many elderly Las Vegas residents were alarmed and confused Wednesday after receiving a mailer with an enclosed letter signed by the Chief Medical Officer of Humana Medicare, Philip Painter, claiming that Congress and the President are considering proposals to cut "important benefits and services" of Medicare.
The letter enclosed in the mailer tries to convince Medicare recipients that their benefits could be cut if the current health insurance reform plans are enacted.
To ensure Humana customers read the packet, it arrives in an envelope claiming to contain "IMPORTANT INFORMATION about your Medicare Advantage plan" and imparts urgency upon the recipients to "OPEN TODAY!" But the mailer contains no information about the recipients' medicare plans. Rather, upon opening Humana's "Guidance when you need it most" envelope, recipients find a recruitment packet asking them to join Humana's Partner Program to "show Congress the importance of Medicare Advantage."
Humana's Partner Program is Humana's community corporate organizing arm. Using scare tactics (convincing Grandma that her Medicare benefits could be cut), an enclosed Humana Partner Program flyer asks Medicare recipients to sign up (and to sign up their friends and family) to:
- receive policy propaganda Congressional updates
- view member profiles of other Partner members
- learn how to use your voice for Humana profits reform
- receive quarterly disinformation newsletters
- learn about local tea bagger parties Humana Partner opportunities
Hey look: maybe the folks at Actors Theatre of Louisville don't support healthcare reform. Or maybe just not enough to endanger the company's flagship program and its benefits to American playwrights. Finding another corporate sponsor in times like these would indeed be a tall order.
But I would hope they might at least consider expressing, publicly or privately, their disapproval of cheap lying scare tactics like these.
And if they don't, maybe individual playwrights and theatre artists can make their beliefs known--beliefs about access to affordable insurance and medical care for their many, many unemployed and under-employed artist/colleagues--by refusing to participate in anything festival with the name "Humana" in it.