Do I Get A Free Jersey? President Taps NBA And Other Sports Pros To Market Obamacare
June 21, 2013 by Ben Bullard
In an effort to sell the dimly understood, byzantine and regressive healthcare scheme that is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Administration of President Barack Obama is reaching out to the NBA and other professional sports leagues in the hope of popularizing Obamacare to a broad demographic of uninformed, entertainment-addled Americans.
Operating on the hope that what’s cool enough for LeBron James and Kevin Durant will be cool enough for you, the Obama Administration is working through the heavily partisan Enroll America nonprofit, as well as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to persuade the NBA to let the President hitch his healthcare star to the league’s media wagon.
The NBA hasn’t made a public statement about whether it’s on board, but the Administration is banking on aligning its target audience — Americans who don’t know much about insurance and haven’t yet thought about how they’ll approach subsidized coverage as the Oct. 1 enrollment start date nears — with the league’s popularity among young viewers, which POLITICO described Wednesday as a natural fit:
[F]or the administration, the allure is obvious. The NBA season’s calendar tracks closely with the six-month period during which Americans have a chance to sign up for subsidized insurance around the country — beginning on Oct. 1. And NBA fans fit key demographics targeted by supporters of the health law.
“You just can’t be a smoker and be obese or heavy … and be a basketball player. These folks are kind of the picture of youth and health, and in some ways, that’s the target audience,” said Jon Kingsdale, appointed by then-Gov. Mitt Romney in 2006 to oversee the implementation of the Massachusetts health law — which got a big messaging boost from the Boston Red Sox.
The possible NBA deal would serve as just one pillar supporting the Administration’s marketing bridge, as it ramps up the Obamacare rhetoric to “educate” the public about their options under the new law. With or without the sponsorship of athletic organizations, Enroll America is already launching campaigns in 18 States to bring people up to speed on what their options will be for getting poorer.