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President Barack Obama greets retired Baltimore Ravens football linebacker Ray Lewis, center, during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 5, 2013, to honor the Super Bowl XLVII champs. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Baltimore Ravens kick off Obamacare promotion

Chuck Ross
Reporter, Daily Caller News Foundation

The reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens have partnered with the state of Maryland to help implement Obamacare as the state-based exchange opens up in October.

Maryland Lt. Anthony Brown announced the effort Tuesday in a statement.

“During the open enrollment period, Maryland Health Connection will partner with the 2012 Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens to connect with Maryland residents about the importance of developing a health coverage game plan,” the statement read.

That plan will involve “a multi-media advertising and outreach campaign designed to inform consumers statewide about the importance of health coverage, access to health plan choices and the financial assistance,” according to Brown’s statement.

Maryland officials hope the popularity of the football team will help carry the controversial policy as its implementation begins. According to the statement, 71 percent of Marylanders attended, watched, or listened to a Ravens game in the previous year.

“The partnership will provide Maryland Health Connection with the opportunity to reach and engage fans while making them aware of the new opportunity they have for health coverage beginning this fall through the health insurance marketplace,” read the statement.

Americans for Tax Reform, a free-market organization headed by Grover Norquist, responded to the announcement with a petition at its website.

ATR’s petition reads:

“As an NFL fan, I am opposed to my tax dollars being used by the NFL to promote Obamacare. I don’t watch the NFL to be preached at by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other politicians. Keep healthcare politics out of the NFL.”

In June, Secretary Sebelius said the administration was “enthusiastically engaged” in efforts to get the NFL to back Obamacare. The League punted, saying that it had no plans to work support the policy. The Obama administration and HHS had also appealed to the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. Neither league has announced plans to work to push the Act.

A group called MomsRising urged the NFL to push Obamacare to its fans. “As a league that is committed to promoting healthy living, at your games and off the field,” their petition read, “the NFL should take the opportunity to help spread the good news about more accessible health coverage.”

Besides a partnership with the Super Bowl champions, the Maryland campaign will partner with CVS Pharmacy and Giant Food stores. “Health coverage literature and announcements” will be provided at 100 Giant stores and 170 CVS locations, according to the statement which also said that 14 percent of its 5.8 million residents, or 800,000 people, are currently uninsured in the state.

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