White House Taps Baltimore Ravens to Promote ‘Obamacare’ Enrollment

Don’t worry, your ears are fine—that click-clack you’re hearing is the sound of a thousand conservative bloggers registering their disapproval of Super Bowl champions the Baltimore Ravens.

Today the White House and the state of Maryland announced plans to use the champs to promote the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare. More specifically, the team will work to encourage MD residents to enroll in the statewide health insurance exchanges that serve as one of the central pillars of the law.

The administration first aimed to get the entire National Football League to collaborate on a promotional campaign, but the organization (wisely) chose to sit that one out due, no doubt, to the corrosive power of partisan politics. Individual teams, on the other hand, can do as they choose and the league will support them.

So how will this new partnership work?

You’re probably aware that one of the ACA’s goals is to reduce overall health care expenses by encouraging the millions of Americans who don’t have coverage to get it either through their employer or through one of these exchanges (at risk of facing the fine that Chief Justice John Roberts declared to be a tax). The exchanges will serve as digital forums for consumers to compare the services offered by various (privately owned) insurance providers and pick the plans best suited to their needs.

Research found that the vast majority of uninsured Marylanders had watched, attended or listened to a Ravens game over the past year, so the team is probably the most effective delivery system for this message. Since the exchanges are opening on October 1, less than a month after the NFL season starts, this is the perfect time to remind everyone to research and sign up for coverage. We assume that recognizable faces from the Ravens organization will show up in multimedia promos to remind watchers/listeners to get on it.

As Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius notes, the Boston Red Sox played a similar role in encouraging Massachusetts residents to sign up for then-governor Mitt Romney’s health program in 2007—you know, the one that bears a striking resemblance to Obamacare.

This is only one of many elements in the administration’s busy fall ACA promo game, which will also include geo-targeted ad buys, social media campaigns and a 24/7 customer service call center. While we can’t expect opposition bloggers to lay down their arms, we’d call this a wise PR move on the White House’s behalf.

*Photo via Jordan Schatz, Baltimore Sports Talk