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The International Game Developers Association is urging its US members to put pressure on their elected representatives in relation to plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
In a brief statement from the board of directors, the IGDA says, “The ACA has been instrumental in enabling many people to purse [sic] their creative passion as independent game developers… We believe that universally available healthcare is not only critical for the well-being of individual game developers, but also for the overall creative health of our industry.
The IGDA will continue to closely monitor how this issue evolves.” The announcement directs developers to find and contact their congressional representatives through an online tool.
This type of public call to direct political action is relatively rare for the IGDA, which has grown to represent 8,000 members worldwide since it was founded in 1994 as the Computer Game Developers Association. Past political outreach by the group has generally focused on issues of censorship, privacy, Internet freedom, and pushback against attempts to link video games to real world violence.
The IGDA has previously spoken out against ICANN’s proposed changes in trademark-related privacy rules, against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act and in favor of net neutrality rules, for instance.
The potential repeal of the ACA, though, is an issue where the IGDA is worried about the direct effects on members themselves rather than more indirect impacts on their work.
The IGDA’s 2015 Developer Satisfaction Survey found 30 percent of freelancers and 32 percent of self-employed workers among their membership relied on government-provided health insurance coverage.
Even among full-time employees in the game industry, only 72 percent had health coverage provided by their employer, according to the survey.
Waypoint recently highlighted a number of stories of independent game developers whose lives and financial well-being were saved because the ACA let them afford health insurance.
The story also suggests that the ACA may have contributed to the rising popularity of independent game development in general in recent years.
“The rise of the availability of healthcare certainly is something that has helped people make the decision to branch out on their own and pursue self-employment because it is something they can actually do,” IGDA Executive Director Kate Edwards told Waypoint. “If it’s the case where the ACA is completely repealed and we go back to the pre-ACA days, then it’s very likely that we at the IGDA will step up again and work with an insurance company and broker to create a program that at least our members will have access to something.”