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Oct 23 2009


AHIPs DC conference

The Guerilla Musical heard round the world

What was it?
‘Public Option Annie’ was a highly visible musical intervention to reframe the health care debate in late 2009. They wanted to re-energize progressives frustrated by a summer of unchecked right wing momentum and draw focus back onto the insurance companies leaving Americans without care. The “punking” of the American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) conference in Washington DC took the news cycle by storm.

When was it?
On October 23rd, 2009 creative action specialists from Agit-Pop and Billionaires for Wealthcare (working closely with Healthcare for America Now!) infiltrated AHIPs DC conference and executed a powerful musical disturbance capturing their own video and audio. Just a few hours later that day a polished viral piece was loaded onto YouTube and shopped around to media outlets. Rachel Maddow ran a glowing segment on it that night. It was then picked up by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, and numerous local TV stations. Finally John Stewart covered it extensively in a hit piece on Lieberman.

How was it?
‘Public Option Annie’ is a shining example of the powerful synergies created by savvy actions that utelize both “real world” and online dimensions. They drew heavily upon connections from across the network of arts, theater, new media, tech, and direct action action communities. While the action itself was a surgical strike inside the belly of the insurance industry beast, the stickiness of their presentation ensured that millions of Americans witnessed it on the tubes.

Here’s is what was said;

The single most unexpected turn of events yet in the fight over health reform.” -Rachel Maddow

“The stunt was worthy of something dreamed up by a Hollywood press agent of yesteryear: A group of health reform activists quietly infiltrated a D.C. meeting of health insurance executives and, one by one, added their voices to a growing chorus of a satirical version of “Tomorrow” from “Annie.” The antics, from the group Billionaires for Wealthcare, was a bit of showmanship in a health care debate that has until only recently been scarce in showbiz moments.” – Variety

“Aside from their amazing A cappella abilities, the Billionaires for Wealthcare have perfect timing and theatrical blocking… the way the first singer segued into the oblivious speaker’s “thank you” statement….and the video camera man, on cue everytime… phenomenal by all!” –Yankhadenough

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