Members of the insurance industry may as well have been walking into a lion's den when they converged in Washington this week for their annual State Issues conference.
Unlike previous years, this year's convention happened to fall smack dab in the center of a hotly contentious debate over whether the government should offer a health insurance plan to people as an alternative to private plans. Lest anyone at the conference forgot about the controversy, hundreds of protesters were there to remind them -- some did it in song.
Insurance industry pollster Bill McInturff was giving a speech Friday when he was interrupted at first with cheers of praise from people who seemingly belonged at the conference, given their business attire. The cheers turned into a song about the "public option," or government-run health insurance, performed to the tune of "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie.
The singers, who were eventually escorted out of the conference, belonged to a group that calls itself Billionaires for Wealthcare
"Health care reform is on life-support and we're here to pull the plug," the group writes on its Web site. "Thanks to our loyal foot-soldiers Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, we've raised the level of discourse to a cacophonous din."
The groups Health Care for America Now and MoveOn.org also bombarded the health insurance conference, hosted by America's Health Insurance Plans, with hundreds of protesters and families with stories of being denied care by the insurance companies.
AHIP did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the incident, but according to the Huffington Post, McInturff commented, "If you are going to have protesters at least you can hire people who sing."
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Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.