Health care during the Renaissance.


Many of the people who worked at Renaissance fairs had no health insurance. So the staff developed a system to help.
Driving America’s health care system can feel like a medieval torture device, especially in finance. Therefore, the people working at the Renaissance exhibition proposed a solution, which might be appropriate. Dan Weissman of our Planet Money team tells the story.
DAN WEISSMAN, wired: about 35 miles east of Austin, Texas, I’m standing in an outdoor bar at Sherwood Forest Faire. Most people here dress like actors in “game of thrones”.
Unidentified person # 1: do you have a chance to talk to Robin Hood? Robin, stand up.
WEISSMAN: Robin Hood did everything they did during the Renaissance fair, and they pretended to be amazed by modern technology like my microphone.
Unidentified man 2 :(like Robin Hood) that’s a very strange device, Sir.
WEISSMAN: another new invention that they didn’t all have? Health insurance. You know, it’s all fun and games until someone gets a lance through it. In the middle ages there were many things that could be wrong. Danielle Dupont played the role of the washing machine and dragged the audience into her performance.
DANIELLE DUPONT :(washed Wench) do you want to see him do something dangerous?
WEISSMAN: a few years ago, she fell off the stage and twisted her ankle. The good news. When she returned from the emergency room, her fellow performers had already worn the long hat to raise $2,000 for her. She was moved. But then she found out that not everyone got the same charity. Another family’s daughter was ill, and no one stepped up to help them.
Dupont: because I’m very popular. I am 22 years old. I’m cute. I have a stage show. People gave me money. However, the artist and his family did not get any money and had to leave. It’s not fair.
Wiseman: so rennes is calling himself the informal spirit of charity and formalizing it. They call it the RESCU foundation, a way to raise money and donate it to the people who need it most at Renaissance fairs across the country. The fundraiser was an easy part. Rennies had a lot of imagination, and they came up with a clever way to use it. Carol Black is one of the founders of RESCU. She said they would pick up worthless items at thrift stores and auction them off with stories.
CAROL BLACK: we auctioned the Gutenberg dryer broken wooden strainer because it costs $150.
WEISSMAN: give it up and make sure it’s more difficult to get to where it needs to be. To make it work, they have to accept a concept that actually defines modernity – bureaucracy. Carol says they start like any good health care provider with paperwork.
Black: it’s really hard for people, especially in this kind of industry.
WEISSMAN: need to help pay for medical expenses Rennies must fill out a form, to prove that they worked in the occasion of a fair, like an elf, a man who juggle, a bard or sells Turkey legs a rude guy, it doesn’t matter. There is a committee that reviews everything. Those who get approval can get a little money. More importantly, they can help drive the health care system. Kellingloubig used to sell belly dance costumes. She is now the case manager of RESCU.
KAELYN GLOBIG: when you don’t have insurance, there are some roads you can take away, but people don’t know how to do it. They don’t necessarily tell you.
Mr. Weissman: kelin started by advocating her own process to lenny. She teaches them magic words to kill medical dragons – applications, charity care, financial aid. Over the past five years, the RESCU foundation has said it has spent about $500,000 on medical expenses and has received more than $2 million in price breakthroughs. For NPR news, I’m Dan weisman from Austin, Texas.


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