In 2006, a Republican governor of Massachusetts -- I believe his name was Mitt Romney -- had just approved a sweeping health care reform plan and needed to inform Bay State residents about new benefits they were entitled to. State officials did the obvious, smart thing: they partnered with the Boston Red Sox and launched a campaign to inform the public.
The team played "a central role" in getting the word out to the public, and it worked like a charm. State residents learned what they needed to know; the uninsured got coverage; and "Romneycare" was a success.
Seven years later, the Obama administration would love to establish similar partnerships to help get the word out on the Affordable Care Act, but that's proven to be quite difficult. Senate Republicans, eager to sabotage the federal health care system out of partisan spite, contacted the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, PGA, and NASCAR in July, urging them not to partner with Washington on informing the public about health care benefits.
The unprecedented right-wing lobbying had some effect -- in the months since, both the NFL and NBA informed the White House that it would not help with the public-awareness campaign. Every other sports franchise and league has also stayed on the sidelines.
That is, until yesterday.
The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens will help Maryland promote new insurance options under ObamaCare, state officials announced Tuesday. It's the first official partnership formed with a sports franchise to encourage participation in President Obama's signature healthcare law. [...]Maryland's health department said 71 percent of uninsured people in the state watched, attended or listened to a Ravens game in the past year.
This is clearly great news for Maryland, arguably the single most effective state in the nation when it comes to implementing "Obamacare." It will, however, have no effect in the other 49 states.
Perhaps, with the Ravens on board, other sports franchises will get off the sidelines and into the game, so to speak?