NFL has 'no plans' to promote Obamacare
June 28th, 2013
03:12 PM ET
10 months 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. Robert Morales

    Given the article that picture it is attached to, it makes it seem like those guys in the picture are giving a Mafia-style warning lol

    June 28, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. Woman In California

    Less government UNLESS and UNTIL it benefits us (introducing more scare tactics bought to you by none other than the gop). Between Priebus' yuck and this statement, they're running scared and I continue to enjoy every minute of it.

    June 28, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. Bill from GA

    I must have read this wrong.

    Surely, mcconnell would not be involved in some form of INTIMIDATION. After all, the health care law is the LAW of the land.

    Does mcconnell not believe in our governmental process?
    Does mcconnell favor rule by INTIMIDATION?

    Didn't mcconnell recently accuse our President of using the government for intimidation?

    is there any more low-life excuse for a politician than mitch mcconnell?

    June 28, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Are the Republicans *actually* targeting and threatening private businesses whose politics they disagree with?

    June 28, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. ProudDem

    I almost feel sorry for McConnell...almost. You can see in his eyes that he knows what he's doing for the party is complete BS. Same thing with Boehner really. Bottom line though, they're putting the party above the country.

    June 28, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Zerubbabel

    Bill from GA

    NAILED IT

    Hey Mitch, hypocrite much!!!

    June 28, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. Steveo

    If no laws are violated and the NFL, NBA, NASCAR, MLB, and the NHL wants to get involved, so be it!

    June 28, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    Oh, dear. More Mitch McConnell rumblings and grumblings.

    June 28, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    The administration continues to demonstrate the lack of good taste, and sensibility in everything they do.

    June 28, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    Did I read this wrong or was this threat and intimidation??? I have never seen such a bunch of crybaby sore losers in my life. Who the hell do they think they are???

    What next X burnings outside the stadiums???

    June 28, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Huh?

    CNN,
    Out of curiosity, why haven't you been running more headlines on the George Zimmerman trial? Whats the matter, did the prosecution's "star witness" give you pause? I guess you guys already had a story line all planned out but it does not look like the trial is going to go the way you had hoped for.

    June 28, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. WIll D

    Having the NFL or some other group promote the program would be fine IF.

    They should tell everyone what the cost is. What it covers, what it don't. Ect ect

    Telling others about the program should not be a left/right thing. Just the facts and nothing else. No lies or false promises.

    To sell it as the end all be all is wrong Becuase this law is not that.

    June 28, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. I Like Watching The NFL

    So the get government out of our lives group is trying to control our major league teams. Good grief the senate has more important things to do than bully our professional sports.
    Have a safe and happy Independence day next week everyone.

    June 28, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Evidently their 38 plus attempts at shutting the law of the land down is not enough. Mitch and Company are now resorting to more divisive tactics in trying to turn goodwill towards the President amongst pro teams.
    It was okay for Romney to do it in Massachusetts but not President Obama?
    Obamacare – because he does – is here to stay. There is NOTHING that these Rethuglikkklans can do about it.
    They have permanently labeled themselves as pure obstructionists in the halls of government, and now Americans can see how they have worked to divide the country and turn them against their own President.
    Republicans are domestic terrorists hellbent on the destruction of THIS President and his legacy no matter the cost or the impact on the country.

    June 28, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  15. Steveo

    @WIll D

    Having the NFL or some other group promote the program would be fine IF.

    They should tell everyone what the cost is. What it covers, what it don't. Ect ect

    Telling others about the program should not be a left/right thing. Just the facts and nothing else. No lies or false promises.

    To sell it as the end all be all is wrong Becuase this law is not that.
    -----------
    One would hope voters would not use the NFL as a source of political information. Yet pretty much nothing surprises me anymore.

    June 28, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  16. Gurgyl

    What contraversial??? These GOP is so pathetic and vulnerable idiots.

    June 28, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The dissemination of information to the masses = Republican kryptonite.
    Keep them scared, stupid, and spinning is their motto and how they maintain what little power they have left.
    President Obama is determined to put an end to that and they hate him for it.

    June 28, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Why are Republicans so afraid of an educated and well-informed electorate?
    What do they have against the masses learning how to avail themselves of the very thing they elected the President to do, the Affordable Care Act?
    You know the answer: only ignorant souls would vote for this current crop of Teatarded Republicans.
    They have to keep you stupid and away from th intelligent President otherwise you'd wake up and vote them out of office.
    Well don't worry. We're going to vote them out for you because there aren't enough ignorant people to keep them in office come 2014.

    June 28, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Maybe somebody should tell the GOP party of stupid that they lost the election in 2012 and everybody in the world knows it. People laugh when you threaten them, you have no power but empty bs as you have shown with the GOP clown assa from cal.

    June 28, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  20. California

    Obamacare propaganda.

    Did anyone really think they wouldn't try this one?

    June 28, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  21. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    These two GOP bums from the GOP garbage of America party will be kicked out of office in the 2012 midterms,these two losers are the garbage of America!!!

    June 28, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. Gt

    Why niy use The tight end fron new, England..both are as popular

    June 28, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. rs

    The GOP is simply filled with hypcritcal losers. Have they offered anything to replace the ACA? Uum, no they haven't. In fact, they have done damn all in the last 5 years. Now it seems that the inativity has left them wth no skills to lead at all. A sorry and sad end or the party of Theodore Roosevelt.

    June 28, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    How's that "Extreme Republican Makeover' going fellas? Not so good, is it? Whatever happened to, what was it George W. Bush called it? Oh yeah, "compassionate conservatism." Looks like you fellas have trampled it into extinction. Not good.

    June 28, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. rs

    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    "Evidently their 38 plus attempts at shutting the law of the land down is not enough. Mitch and Company are now resorting to more divisive tactics in trying to turn goodwill towards the President amongst pro teams.
    It was okay for Romney to do it in Massachusetts but not President Obama?"
    _______________________
    Mr. McConnell must be developing a taste filibustering his own stuff. You're right of course, the ACA is pretty much Romneycare which works and is popular in Massachusetts. But hey, the GOP doesn't even support it's own stuff anymore if can they obstruct progress or hurt Americans. Give them credit, theatening the NFL is certanly some sort of ne low for these creeps.

    June 28, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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