Terrance Heath

Singing For Health Care Reform

Filed By Terrance Heath | October 24, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: AHIP, Annie, Bill McInturff, health care reform, pre-existing conditions, Tomorrow

(Full disclosure: The group that organized the protest is one I work with on my job.)

This is something I wish I'd been a part of, and I hope they call me if they need an extra baritone next time. (It's rare that my vocal training and my politics intersect.) Plus, the guy who got "punk'd" was none other than Bill McInturff, the guy who gave us Harry and Louise. (Not to mention killing health care reform and giving us another decade of pre-existing conditions, recissions, etc.)

Republican pollster Bill McInturff was the keynote speaker on the final day of the America's Health Insurance Plans's state issues conference on Friday morning.

But his speech on how the health care reform debate was playing among the public was interrupted before it even began. A group of protesters began aggressively cheering McInturff for the work he has done for AHIP (he's a hired pollster for the private insurance lobby and, most infamously, was the force behind the 'Harry and Louise' ads in 1994)

McInturff, initially thinking that the cheering was legitimate, thanked the "AHIP officials" in the back of the room for giving him mental encouragement for his speech. He was not being paid for his appearance, he noted.

And then, the protesters -- dressed in business attire to fit into the crowd -- began singing. A relatively lengthy and harmonious rendition of "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie ensued, only with the chorus focused on government-run insurance. "The option, the option, we must have, the option... " went the rendition, in reference to the public plan.

The lyrics are available after the jump, if you want to sing along.

As protests go, ya gotta give 'em credit for a few things:

  • informative and entertaining (if you're going to cause an interruption, at least make it entertaining and short; this one clocked in at just over 2 minutes, and managed to make its point)
  • protest that was also creative and pretty civil -- at least as civil as disrupting a meeting can be (Note that the looks on the faces of most attendees seemed more amused than annoyed)
  • a message that consisted of more than three or four shouted words
  • no signs about burying anybody
  • no one hanged or burned in effigy
  • no name-calling
  • no vandalism
  • no fistfights broke out
  • no one brought a gun

What's more they complied with security officers when asked to leave, and went right on singing as they did so. (

One more time!

SINGER #1

No, thank you!
FOR KILLING THE PUBLIC OPTION
AND BLOCKING ANY HOPES OF ITS ADOPTION
THANK YOU, SIR!

SINGER #2
Sure,
BUT WHAT ABOUT COMPETITION?
IT'S AN OLD AMERICAN TRADITION
OR SO I'VE HEARD?

SINGER #1
Meh.

SINGER #3
WHEN OLYMPIA SNOWE
SAID NO,
IT CROAKED
Right?

SINGER #2
NO, THE OPTION'S NOT DEAD

SINGER #3
OR RED!

SINGER #1
EXPLAIN!
Who let these hippies in here?

SINGERS #2 AND #3, and CHORUS MEMBERS
IF WE GET A PUB-
LIC OPTION
WE CAN SNIFF OUT WASTE
JUST LIKE A DACHSUND
COSTS COME DOWN!

SINGER #1
Hey, those "costs" are my profits!

SINGERS #2 AND #3, and CHORUS MEMBERS
THE OPTION
THE OPTION
THE PUBLIC WANTS OPTIONS
WITHOUT IT,
IT'S A GIVEAWAY

SINGER #1
Exactly. To us. Am I in the right room?
THE OPTION
THE OPTION
THE PUBLIC WANTS AN OPTION

SINGERS #2 AND #3, and CHORUS MEMBERS
OR REFORM IS A CORP'RATE GIVE-A-WAY!

SINGER #1
Well, I've heard enough.

Gotta take your laughs where you can get 'em. Because, let's face it, the health care reform debate is not always a laugh riot. Because it's not so funny:

And these stories aren't exactly knee-slappers.

Build your own custom video playlist at embedr.com

 

Neither are these. Or these.

So, sometimes you either gotta laugh or cry.


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This singing protest was incredible. I loved it.

Socialized medicine is the only cure for what ails us.

Don't be fooled by the Obama administration.

Obama is a tool of HMOs, insurance companies and Big Pharma. The Democrat's 'public option' is a scam. It's an inferior form of Medicare and like Medicare it'll be administered by profit gouging private insurance companies and HMOs.

Kip Sullivan of Physicians for a National Health Program says:


Advocates of a "public option" claim that the "option" will look like Medicare. They say this about the "option" in both bills that have been introduced to date - the House "reform" bill, HR 3200, and the bill written by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee. But this statement is not true.

Medicare is larger than any private insurance company; the "option" in both bills will be small. The traditional Medicare program is a single program with uniform benefits; the "option" in both bills will be a balkanized program that may not be available in all parts of the country. Medicare is administered by public employees; the "options" in both bills will be administered by private-sector corporations, some or all of which will be insurance companies. The "option" in neither bill resembles Medicare....

As the preceding rather convoluted description of MACs and contracting administrators suggests, neither the HELP bill nor HR 3200 makes it easy for readers to grasp that corporations, not public employees, will create, and probably run, the "option" program. Neither bill comes right out and says, "The Secretary shall hire private-sector corporations to create and run as many health insurance companies as is necessary to make health insurance available for sale to the non-elderly in each health insurance market in America." Nor is that fact being ballyhooed by the bills' authors and proponents. But it's an important feature for "option" supporters."

Physicians for health care reform http://www.pnhp.org/

AFL-CIO nurses for health care reform http://www.guaranteedhealthcare.org/blog/colette-washington-cna-nnoc/2009/09/16/afl-cio-convention-endorses-single-payer

(crossposted from Pam's)

Okay, that video is f---king awesome. And I can TOTALLY see you piping in, Terrance.