On Friday July 29th 2011, Pittsburgh celebrated the 46th anniversary of the passage of Medicare. Supporters of Medicare and single-payer convened outside of U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s office and performed a skit which satirized the duel between UPMC and Highmark. The group then declared Smithfield Street Bridge the Medicare for All Bridge, satirizing Allegheny County Council’s decision to allow for “the placement of advertising, naming rights, or sponsorship notices…” on county bridges “as a means of generating supplemental revenue for the County…”
The activists then marched across the bridge into downtown Pittsburgh and caused a unique spectacle outside of U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s office. The spectacle involved two Darth Vaders (representing Highmark and UPMC) duking it out, only to be stopped by Batman and Robin. The quirky effort referenced the fact that the new Batman movie is being filmed in Pittsburgh and served as an attempt to implore the senators to come through as heroes for the people.