The Washington Times - September 3, 2013, 05:41PM

Maryland officials announced Tuesday they have enlisted the Baltimore Ravens to help them promote the new health care law within their borders, a state-level coup for Obamacare supporters after the administration failed to get the National Football League to tout the contentious reforms.

The Ravens are reigning Super Bowl champions and highly visible, according to the state, which cited research that says 71 percent of the state’s uninsured population watched, attended or listened to a Ravens game in the past 12 months.


“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,” the office of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said.

The announcement did not say what the team or its players will do specifically, but described the overall campaign as “television, radio, print advertising, out of-home and digital media.”

A professional sports franchise is a key prize for health officials attempting to promote the labyrinthine law before they start to enroll residents on state-based health exchanges in October. Through the exchanges, Americans without employer-based health coverage can buy insurance with the help of government subsidies.

Pro athletes, the thinking goes, engage a wide audience, exude a healthy lifestyle and can appeal to younger, healthier adults who will keep premiums in check by enrolling alongside sicker consumers with preexisting conditions, who can no longer be denied coverage.

Massachusetts enlisted the help of the Boston Red Sox in 2007 when it debuted the state-based health care system that is considered to be the forerunner of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, or Obamacare.

The Obama administration attempted to get the NFL to help them promote the federal law this year, but the league declined after Republican critics of Obamacare told them not to get involved.

Maryland, a Democrat-led state, is among the 16 states — plus the District of Columbia — that have decided to set up their health exchange on their own, instead of opting to let the federal government do it for them or enter a federal-state partnership.

Maryland state officials said they have also has partnered with CVS pharmacy and Giant food stores.