Rumor has it the White House has contacted the NBA about helping to promote the Affordable Care Act (or ObamaCare) in the fall, when people can sign up for the new insurance coverage (effective January 2014). Obama’s nonprofit social welfare organization Organize For Action just launched a seven-figure ad campaign featuring everyday Americans enjoying new benefits like tax credits for small business owners and the ban on insurance companies discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions. Endorsements from athletes have proven effective for marketing inclusive healthcare before. In 2006, Massachusetts worked with the Boston Red Sox to promote its healthcare reform law (or Romneycare).
NBA players and owners are no strangers to the insurance business. The insurance company for the Philadelphia 76ers will pick up the $16.9 million salary this year for the team’s star center Andrew Bynum, a new acquisition who sat out the entire season with a right knee injury. Although Bynum missed 166 games over seven years due to a variety of knee ailments heading into the 2012-2013 season, he was not considered to have a pre-existing condition. If Obamacare works like that, people will dance in the streets. But they’ll want to be careful dancing, lest they follow in Bynum’s giant footsteps: his rehabilitation was set back last fall when he injured his knee while bowling. Sad stories like that of Bynum, however, who seems unlikely to ever recover his all-star form, isn’t what Organize For Action will be looking for in its new campaign. They’ll want the flip side: the NBA features some of the greatest athletes on the planet–and when they do their thing they are the very picture of health.