NFL, responding to GOP, says no plans to promote 'Obamacare'

Responding to Senate Republican leaders who urged professional sports leagues not to align themselves with President Obama's health care bill, the NFL said it has no plans to enter into a partnership with the Obama administration.

"We have responded to the letters we have received from members of Congress to inform them that we currently have no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration about [the health-care law's] implementation," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email to the Washington Post. 

Senate Republican leaders had reached out to numerous professional sports leagues in an effort to dissuade the organizations from supporting President Obama’s health care bill. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) wrote letters to the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, PGA Tour and NASCAR suggesting any type of promotion for "Obamacare" could potentially alienate fans.

“Given the divisiveness and persistent unpopularity of the health care law, it is difficult to understand why an organization like yours would risk damaging its inclusive and apolitical brand by lending its name to its promotion,” the letters, dated June 27, read.

The letters were the GOP’s response after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced she had solicited the help of the NFL in promoting the health care bill, whose widespread coverage will be available in a few months.  

“It’s a huge undertaking across the country, and I’m confident we’re going to get it done,” she said, according to the Associated Press.

The GOP letters also expressed fear the Obama administration could be threatening the leagues into a partnership:

“We have long been concerned by the Obama Administration’s record of using the threat of policy retaliation to solicit support for its policies or to silence its critics. Should the administration or its allies suggest that there will be any policy consequence for your decision not to participate in their outreach efforts, we urge you to resist any such pressure and contact us immediately.”  

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