P.O.S. Breaks His Fundraising Goal, Has Some Thoughts on the Election

P.O.S. photo courtesy of Rhymesayers.

Talk about awful timing: P.O.S. released his fourth album We Don’t Even Live Here the same week he learned that he needed a kidney transplant to resolve health issues he’s had since he was a teenager. Not only has that changed his life in a number of day-to-day ways, but it also means that he had to cancel the tour he’d booked to promote the album. That’s a major inconvenience for a few reasons, not the least of which is that touring is mostly how an artist like P.O.S. makes his money, and given how expensive the health care costs associated with organ transplants, dialysis, and prescriptions are, he needs that money more than ever. Fortunately, the rapper has a devoted fanbase – a week after announcing a crowdsourced fundraising campaign, he’d blown past his intitial $25,000 goal ($34,876.00 as of November 6) to help him cover living and health care costs during his unexpected downtime. Hive caught up with P.O.S. to find out all the details of what it’s like to be a musician without regular health insurance in a time of crisis, how his fans have responded, and why he’s not setting up a StefAid concert anytime soon.

“The timing of this is destroying me, to be honest. It has been really frustrating to feel like I’ve just made the best record of my career, and I can’t do anything right now to support.”

You’ve raised $32,000 in a week. Has that blown your mind?

Yeah, actually. After we hit the goal in three days, I started feeling like I shouldn’t even look at it. I should take it down and not even think about it anymore. And people just keep on donating and it keeps on blowing my mind. And that’s awesome, because I keep on finding out about the more costs that are coming up after I get the kidney transplant. I’ll be taking like 25 different pills every day for the rest of my life. Those aren’t cheap.

Independent rappers aren’t known for having awesome health insurance. Are you paying for everything out-of-pocket, or do you have insurance?

Up until I got on dialysis, I had insurance through a company called Pre-Existing Condition Insurance. Which, I mean, just like the name sounds, was a total joke. They weren’t covering much. After I got on dialysis, I was able to apply for Medicare, so I’m waiting to see if I get Medicare.

How far does the money you’ve raised so far take you? Was the $25,000 goal a bare minimum to survive?

Yeah, you know — I hate the idea of begging my fans anyway, so we pretty much picked the lowest number that I feel like I could get by on until I get back onto the road and start earning again. If I get Medicare, the $25,000 goal was to hopefully cover me for all the expenses of the surgery itself, plus medicines and things like that to last me until I can get on the road. Trying to predict how much everything costs — dialysis is like $80,000 a year, and the transplant, if I get the coverage that I’m hoping for, is gonna come to $10-$15,000 a year, plus prescriptions, which haven’t been factored in at all, but tend to be pretty expensive these days.

What’s the timeline like on the transplant?

I don’t know. I’m actually waiting to hear this week. I have 12 matches within my friends and family. That doesn’t mean that my friends exactly match me, but with kidney transplants, you’re able to check a box that says that even if you’re not a match for me, if somebody across the state or across the country is a match, within the same network, you’re willing to trade your kidney. You know what I’m saying? Like, if you were down to donate your kidney, but you weren’t a match for me, but you were a match for some guy named Joe in Arkansas, you could trade, and I could get his. So between people that are actually matches and people who are willing to trade that way, there are twelve matches. So I’m just hoping to get a date in the next week, hopefully.

In the video you made explaining what’s happening, you mention that you may ask your fans if they’ve got a kidney that matches. Is that where any of the 12 came from?

I didn’t actually have to take any fans’ numbers. When I was planning on touring on dialysis, I still knew I would have to get a transplant at some point. So all of my close friends and family, people in Doomtree, went out and get checked out. But then I was doing dialysis, and it was going to be on the backburner while I toured. But then there were some complications on dialysis, and it went to the front-burner again. So everybody started checking out their availability.

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