NFL has 'no plans' to promote Obamacare
June 28th, 2013
03:12 PM ET
1 year ago

NFL has 'no plans' to promote Obamacare

Updated 5:17 p.m. 6/28

(CNN) - The National Football League has "no plans" to work with the Obama administration in educating the public about the president's controversial health care reform, according to an NFL spokesman.

Earlier this week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the NFL and a "variety of sports affiliates" had been "very actively and enthusiastically engaged" with the administration over the idea.

The top two Republicans in the Senate cautioned the league against teaming up for the project, saying in a letter Friday the NFL would "risk damaging" its nonpartisan reputation by getting involved in a highly divisive issue.

But Brian McCarthy, vice president of communications at the NFL, said in an email that the league has responded to letters they received from members of Congress.

"We currently have no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration about (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's) implementation," McCarthy said.

The Obama administration is embarking on a major campaign to spread the word about the upcoming health care changes. It launched a website on Monday and plans to roll out a series of educational efforts this summer before open enrollment for the marketplace exchanges begins on October 1–about a month after the start of the football season.

Sebelius had pointed to the example set by the Boston Red Sox, who paired up with the commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2007 to urge residents to sign up for the state's health insurance plan. The team used television ads to get out the message, and Fenway Park hosted a health care kiosk at home games and held a themed health care night. They also included informational inserts in their programs.

"We know the Red Sox were incredibly effective in Massachusetts … so it's a logical place to go," Sebelius told reporters Monday.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn advised the NFL that it would not be a smart move.

"Given the divisiveness and persistent unpopularity of the health care [law], it is difficult to understand why an organization like yours would risk damaging its inclusive and apolitical brand by lending its name to its promotion," they wrote in a letter.

In addition to the NFL, the letter was sent to the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Professional Golf Association and the chairman and chief executive officer of NASCAR.

McConnell and Cornyn argued the situation around Massachusetts' health care reform was far different from the federal package passed in 2010.

"For example, the Massachusetts law was adopted by large bi-partisan majorities in a Democratic legislature and signed by a Republican governor," the letter stated. "Obamacare was passed on a party-line vote, using extraordinary legislative gimmicks and widely ridiculed political favors to win passage."

More than half of Americans oppose the law. According to a CNN/ORC International Poll last month, 43% favor the Affordable Care Act, while 54% oppose it. It's worth noting that a significant chunk of the opposition comes from people who say the law does not go far enough. Overall, 35% oppose the law because it is too liberal; 16% say they oppose it because it is not liberal enough.

– CNN's Steve Brusk contributed to this report.


Filed under: Health care • John Cornyn • Kathleen Sebelius • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. just sayin

    so now the leftist obama administration is strong arming everybody to help spread their lies and propaganda. of course, people will do whatever they ask because they don't want the nsa, fbi, irs, doe, ice, etc knockin gon their doors. totally inappropriate and another very bad sign of what the leftists have dragged this country down to.

    June 28, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Steveo wrote:

    One would hope voters would not use the NFL as a source of political information. Yet pretty much nothing surprises me anymore.
    ----------------
    Could it be any worse than getting your "political information" from the NRA? Trust me on this, everyone except conservatives noticed that except for an exception or two, every Republican in DC kept their mouth shut and their head down following the Newton shootings.

    Once the NRA came out and made a statement a week later and gave the masses an "Archie Bunker Solution", then almost every conservative in the country was repeating it.

    [Archie Bunker came up with the idea of arming all passengers on jet planes to stop the rash of armed hijackings.]

    June 28, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Econ301

    I thought Republicans were for Not interfering in Private Business Decisions.

    If Obama reaches out to them, and they want to promote it, where is the problem here, why feel the need to interven in there private business decisions.

    June 28, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. tiscali.it

    so now the GOP is threatening corporations?

    June 28, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Michael Benjamin

    One of the reasons Obamacare may be unpopular is because the Republicans keep spewing untruths about the bill. This is just more political maneuvering because the Republicans see the national political landscape inexorably slipping from their grasp. Immigration reform whether it passes or not is a killer for them so the only thing they have to hang on to is Obamacare.

    These fools keep focusing on their base which is not going to get them to the White House. This was plainly obvious in 2012. With the worst economic conditions in decades and they could not defeat this president. Republicans are hopeless and useless.

    June 28, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ rs
    It absolutely is a new low for the Teatarded GOP rs. This latest stunt of their is so rank with the stench of jealousy and desperation that it is almost unbelievable that they would think it would portray Republicans in a good light.
    Americans don't like haters Republicans. Didn't you learn that from the butt-whipping your boy MIttens got in 2012?
    Americans do NOT like to be lied to, to be kept purposefully misinformed, to have their President disrespected, blocked and antagonized for no reason.
    Our collective American response to the GOPeeing Teatards stunts in and out of Congress since 2009 was to re-elect the very man they spent four years obstructing, lying on, and belittling.
    Now they want to block him from educating Americans so that they can take full advantage of what he ran on, promised and delivered.
    It is NOT going to work. We're watching you. We know what you're about and we're voting you out of office just as quickly as 2014 gets here.
    Enjoy your noose before we cut you down.

    June 28, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. PaulCat

    This is truly getting old!

    June 28, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Steveo

    @Rudy NYC

    Steveo wrote:

    One would hope voters would not use the NFL as a source of political information. Yet pretty much nothing surprises me anymore.
    ------
    Could it be any worse than getting your "political information" from the NRA? Trust me on this, everyone except conservatives noticed that except for an exception or two, every Republican in DC kept their mouth shut and their head down following the Newton shootings.

    Once the NRA came out and made a statement a week later and gave the masses an "Archie Bunker Solution", then almost every conservative in the country was repeating it.

    [Archie Bunker came up with the idea of arming all passengers on jet planes to stop the rash of armed hijackings.]
    -------------
    I noticed you mentioned the NRA but don't stop there. Add the unions, your neighbors, the good humor man and in your case, Archie Bunker. The point is not many research fror themselves

    June 28, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    But hey, take heart, the boors at NASCAR that booed our First Lady and Dr. Biden they might play your dumb game and joi you in your efforts to keep the public misinformed. Which would mean that YOUR base will remain as dumb as you want them to be.
    Si la vi.

    June 28, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. Jinx9to88

    Why would they put a picture of McConnell on every article? This guy is the ugliest SOB I have ever seen. Doesnt the GOP have any better looking people they can put on these articles?

    June 28, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    These to GOP party of stupid incompetent losers will be out in midterm elections. All the GOP is capable of doing is issuing empty threats or their bs propaganda screw the GOP , the garbage of America.cant wait for 2014 mid terms to clean out this useless GOP trash , you lost the election in 2012 in case you forgot, GOP losers!!!!!

    June 28, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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