According to multiple reports surfacing this afternoon, Health and Human Services Commission Secretary Katherine Sebelius has appealed to the NFL, asking for assistance in promotion of the upcoming Affordable Care Act set to take effect in 2014, popularly known as ObamaCare.
The discussions have been centered around a partnership between the HHS and the NFL, in which the NFL would take the lead to encourage the league’s fans to enroll in the healthcare exchanges which will become the centerpiece of the new legislation.
It appears the partnership would be based on advertising purchased by the HHS from the NFL and also incentives offered to the professional football league — and according to some reports, other sports properties — to push the legislation on behalf of the HHS.
On the surface, the partnership would be desired by the HHS because of the younger target demographic which would be captured in aligning with the NFL, or any other major sports league for that matter. People who follow these sports tend to be healthy as a whole, and the more healthy individuals who enroll in the government-supported healthcare exchanges at their outset, the lower the initial administrative and cost burden there will be to bear.
With a low initial administrative cost for early entrants, the larger pool of baby boomers and older Americans will be easier to take care of with an expanded pool of resources.
It’s hardly rocket science.
Just because such partnerships are logical it does not mean they do not tiptoe the lines of politics and business at their intersection– often a grey and murky area that can often lead to unintended consequences.
With the general lack of awareness of the new healthcare legislation set to enact in 2014, are pro sports leagues the first place the federal government should be starting with a grassroots awareness campaign?
Can football deliver a message about general public health?
It’s far from the obvious choice, but given that Joe Blow is more likely to be watching ESPN than CNN on any given Saturday, I guess it may make sense after all.
If an HHS/NFL partnership succeeds for both parties, you can darn well bet it will be replicated across the pro sports landscape.