NFL Rejects Being Used to Push Obamacare


The National Football League appears to be bucking the Obama administration’s  request to help promote the health care overhaul, as Republican lawmakers  pressure all the major sports leagues not to get involved in the  effort.

An NFL spokesman told The Washington Post overnight that the league has “no  plans to engage in this area and (has) had no substantive contact with the  administration” about the implementation.

Earlier in the week, Health and Human Services Department officials said they  were talking to the NFL, NBA and others about possible advertising campaigns, in  the run-up to the launch of a key part of the health care law.

But Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Cornyn,  R-Texas, on Friday wrote to the heads of six professional sports organizations  urging them not to take the bait.

“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.

The senators suggested the administration was reaching out to them because  the law is so “unpopular.”

The NFL’s statement late Friday was in response to lawmakers’  concerns.

The letters were sent to the heads of the NFL, Major League Baseball,  National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Professional Golf  Association and NASCAR.

Republicans, who have been largely opposed to the law ever since they tried  to kill the legislation back in 2009 and 2010, have in recent months tried to  rein in the administration’s promotional efforts.

Several GOP lawmakers want investigations into HHS Secretary Kathleen  Sebelius’ effort to solicit support from private groups for a non-profit that is  promoting the law.

Some of the biggest elements of the health care law are expected to take  effect by early 2014. This fall, enrollment begins for a new marketplace —  called exchanges — of government-regulated insurance plans. The requirement  that nearly everyone buy health insurance kicks in at the beginning of  2014.

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