Equity supported health care reform efforts under the Obama Administration, including Obamacare, and then removed older members from their health insurance plan once Obamacare plans were available. The older members were displeased by the change. 
The Actors’ Equity Association (often referred to as “Equity” or “Actors’ Equity”) formed in 1913 as a labor union. It represents live performers and stage managers in collective bargaining with theatrical organizations. It joined the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1919; it remains a part of the AFL-CIO, the successor to the AFL.
Actors Equity sought and used government help in contract negotiations. As theater is a significant part of the New York economy and tax base, the union has historically been influential in New York City politics. A number of New York City mayors (Robert Wagner, John Lindsay, and Michael Bloomberg) have intervened in stalled contract negotiations because Equity’s strikes closed the theaters. Equity’s contracts improved significantly after these negotiations. In 2004, Equity members sought help from Congress in unionizing non-Equity touring Broadway shows. Equity still seeks to unionize the tours.
Actors’ Equity has obtained generous government benefits for their members. In the late 1970s, Actors’ Equity, alongside other arts and entertainment industry labor unions, partnered with the New York City government under Mayor Abe Beame (D-N.Y.) to establish a subsidized housing complex under the federal subsidized Section 8 program at Manhattan Plaza primarily for performing artists. Performers paid only one-fourth of their income, however small, for rent.
Equity later secured New York State subsidies for COBRA health insurance payments for unemployed actors. COBRA payments are typically the responsibility of someone who quits or loses a job.
In 2015, Equity changed the 99 Seat rule in Los Angeles which had exempted “micro-theaters” from paying Equity actors minimum wage for rehearsals and performances. Equity’s leadership, including Executive Director Mary McColl, disregarded a two-to-one vote by the affected actors who wanted the 99-seat rule to remain as it was. The actors’ position was that the small theaters couldn’t afford to pay the $10.50 per hour minimum wage and they were willing to work for the small stipend they had been receiving.
Actors’ Equity has a mixed record defending the principles of free artistic expression under authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. In 1933, Equity formally protested the banning of Jewish performers in Nazi Germany. In 1987, Equity protested death threats against 77 Chilean actors by right-wing groups allied with Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.  No reports of Equity protesting similar treatment of actors in communist regimes, such as China or the Soviet Union exist.
In 1964, Actors’ Equity participated in a workshop with the Moscow Art Theater. Beginning in 1977, Actors’ Equity, primarily through the union’s vice president Barbara Colton, began a series of exchange visits with the Soviet Union’s Cultural Workers’ Union. Colton hosted delegations from the Soviet Union and took Equity members and her students on several trips to the Soviet Union after initially refusing due to Soviet persecution of Jews. In 1989, Colton and Sergei Seliverstov, formed the nonprofit TheaterBridge to bring American tourists to countries with different social, political, and economic systems.
Equity was a very early supporter of President Barack Obama’s healthcare bill (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare), seeking a government-controlled single-payer system or at least a public option.  It gave its members numerous updates about the progress of the legislation and urged them to support Obamacare in its final form.[/note] Once Obamacare went into effect, Equity dropped their older members off Equity’s health insurance because of the availability of Obamacare. Several members did not agree with this as the Obamacare plans were inferior to the Equity health insurance plan.
2011 Wisconsin Budget Protests
Actors’ Equity participated in the 2011 protests of Wisconsin Act 10, the “Budget Repair Bill” championed by Governor Scott Walker because it limited or eliminate the collective bargaining rights of various groups of Wisconsin state and municipal employees.  
2016 General Election
Actors’ Equity had not officially endorsed any candidate for office until it chose to endorse Democrat Hillary Clinton for President in 2016, in opposition to Republican Donald Trump’s positions on union privileges, education funding, and gun rights.
Kate Shindle has been the president of Actors’ Equity since 2015. She is a former Miss America (1998) and a working actress.
Mary McColl has been executive director of Equity since 2011. Prior to that, she worked in administrative and executive positions for arts organizations for several years.
Actors’ Equity is funded primarily through member dues, initiation fees, and investment income.