By KATHLEEN BITETTI
I have some great news to report out. On June 5th the Connector Board voted unanimously to change the definition of Gross Income to Adjusted Gross Income contained in the Regulations "Determining Affordability for the Individual Mandate [956 CMR 6.00]" These are the regulations that the MA Department of Revenue will use to determine if someone is exempt from the individual mandate - the mandate that requires people to have health insurance.
The Connector Authority Staff (this includes Executive Director Kingsdale, Jamie Katz Chief Counsel and other key connector staff) recommended the change to the board. This was a key important change that not only impacts artists, the self-employed and those with combination sources of income in this state but it has national implications as the entire country is watching our state as the model to replicate.
THANK you to all of the artists who testified and to all of those who sent in letters. We collected 40 or so letters on this issue (Note only 10 were collected for other regulations!) Connector Staff mentioned that at all three of the hearings it was made clear by those testifying that Adjusted Gross Income was the fair and equitable way to measure income. One Connector Board Member, Celia Wcislo, who was at all three of the public hearings, made the case of the need to switch to Adjusted Gross Income to another board member by saying "that artists had real businesses expenses- ie brushes, paint, studio space, that were not counted in Gross Income".
Clearly the Connector Authority not only heard our request but implemented it. Several of the Connector Staff teased me at the June 5th meeting that they were thinking of naming/dedicating the definition to me (so as you can see I was really focused on this key issue).
A Big public thank you to the Connector Board, Executive Director Kingsdale, and the Connector Staff -for changing the definition of Gross Income to Adjusted Gross income.
Also, the AF is co-sponsoring artist town meetings (for artists of all disciplines) across the state that covers the health care reform law and other key legislative/policy matters.
To find out more about the new health care reform law (remember you don't have proof of insurance until Dec 31, 2007 -so do not rush into buying insurance by the July 1, 2007 "deadline"- Research your options very carefully!)