POLITICS: PennAve

Shane Battier is latest Miami Heat player to pitch Obamacare

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Politics,Sports,White House,Obamacare,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Miami Heat,Obama Golf

The Miami Heat may not be a slam dunk for NBA champions this year, but there's no question about where they stand when it comes to Obamacare.

Team forward Shane Battier is just the latest player to pitch in to help promote enrollment in the federal health care exchanges before the March 31 sign-up deadline.

On Tuesday, Battier joined a conference call with reporters to highlight the economic impact of sports-related injuries for people of all ages. He was joined by Marlon Marshall, the White House principal deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement, and Shellie Pfohl, executive director of the president's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

In brief remarks, Battier extolled the virtues and health benefits of playing sports throughout his life, noting the lessons he's learned in leadership, teamwork and sacrifice.

But he also said playing sports comes with a real price – two million people a year wind up in the emergency room with sky-high bills.

“These injuries are common and they can cost a lot,” he said, relaying a litany of his own injuries, including more than 90 stitches, a broken elbow, 25 ankle sprains, reconstructive ankle surgery, and more than 50 x-rays and MRIs throughout his career.

“The bottom line: You need to protect yourself,” he said. “Chances are you are going to get banged up at some point.”

With only two weeks to go before the March 31st deadline for enrolling in Obamacare, he urged athletes to “play hard, be smart and get covered.”

Forward LeBron James and Heat executive Alonzo Mourning have also taped a video appeal to sign up for Obamacare, which was released late last week.

In early March, Obama hit the links with Mourning, as well as sportscaster Ahmad Rashad in Key Largo, Fla., and Mourning will host a democratic fundraiser at his Miami home, which Obama will headline, later this month.

Before the conference call with Battier, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a blog post wrote:

“Estimated rates of sports-related injuries were even higher among children and young adults under the age of 25. An estimated 12 million individuals between the ages of 5 and 22 years suffer a sports related injury annually, and about 20 percent of all injury-related emergency room visits are among children 6 to 19 years of age.”

"For those without health insurance, these injuries -- which can happen to anyone, regardless of overall health status -- can be very expensive. A sprained ankle, for example, can cost you $2,290, and charges for a broken arm, for example, average nearly $7,700."

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