Super Bowl champion Ravens to promote ObamaCare in Md. (video)

It’s the first official partnership formed with a sports franchise to encourage participation in President Obama’s signature healthcare law.

The White House had sought national partnerships on ObamaCare with the NBA and the NFL, but both leagues backed away under pressure from congressional Republicans.

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Supporters of the reform law have sought partnerships with sports organizations because they attract an audience that is critical to the law’s success: young men.

Massachusetts famously partnered with the Boston Red Sox in 2006 to promote its healthcare reform law, which was the model for the Affordable Care Act.

Maryland’s Health Department said 71 percent of uninsured people in the state watched, attended or listened to a Ravens game in the past 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,” the state’s department said in a statement.

Successfully implementing the healthcare law is a key goal for Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who is considering a run for president in 2016.

This isn’t the first time the Ravens have lent their support to O’Malley’s agenda: Ravens players appeared in a series of print and radio ads in 2009 urging Maryland residents to sign up for Medicaid.

The specifics of the Ravens’s role in promoting ObamaCare enrollment were not immediately clear Tuesday. At a minimum, the partnership represents a symbolic win for the law’s supporters following the NFL’s refusal to help promote the law.

Any involvement from the Super Bowl champions will add a new outreach tool in a state that has already enthusiastically embraced the healthcare law.

“The launch of Maryland Health Connection’s advertising and outreach campaign is an important milestone as we move toward 2014 and the expanded access to health insurance for hundreds of thousands of Maryland residents,” said Joshua Sharfstein, the state’s Health secretary.

Maryland is among the states working hardest to make the new healthcare law work. The state also launched a new advertising campaign Tuesday to raise awareness of new coverage options through the state’s insurance exchange.

“In launching this advertising and outreach campaign for Maryland Health Connection, we’re going to ensure that Marylanders get the information they need in order to get access to the quality, affordable care they deserve,” Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said in a statement. “It’s a significant step forward as we continue to lead the way in implementing the Affordable Care Act.”

— This report was originally posted at 2:21 p.m. and last updated at 10:05 p.m.

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