With two weeks to go before the March 31 deadline to enroll in the health care exchanges created as part of President Obama’s health care reform law, the White House has enlisted the help of the NBA’s biggest superstar to help promote it.
According to Bleacher Report, the White House reached out to LeBron James asking for his help, and the Miami Heat star agreed. James recently recorded a 30-second public service announcement that will be released ahead of the NCAA Tournament next week and will air as an ad on ESPN, TNT, ABC, and NBA TV.
“It’s almost like car insurance,” James told Bleacher Report after Wednesday’s game against Brooklyn. “You want to put yourself in a position where — you hope you never get into an accident — but if you do, you want to be secure. And I think a lot of young adults and African-Americans as well are afraid because they are not even educated about it. And hopefully my voice, and hopefully the other people who’ve done it, can get them more knowledgeable about it.”
The White House sought to promote the law through sports from the beginning, an approach that made sense in trying to reach communities that stand to benefit from many of the law’s new programs and the young adults that it needs to enroll in the exchanges for the law to succeed. While the NBA and NFL both declined to partner with the administration to promote the law (even though many former NFL players could benefit from it) individual teams and athletes have provided assistance. The Baltimore Ravens and Washington Nationals both agreed to promote the law or pieces of it. Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who served as an ambassador to Ireland under Obama, and former Steelers players also hosted an enrollment event at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field in October.
NBA legend Magic Johnson, the partial owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, recorded a public service announcement touting the law’s benefits earlier this year. Johnson’s PSA also ran as an ad on the NBA’s partner networks ESPN, ABC, and TNT.
According to the White House, roughly 4.2 million have signed up for new health plans through the law as of the end of the month. James’ help is part of a push to get to the administration’s goal of 6 million by the end of March.