ACA, MLB, and Spring Training (Part 1 of 2)
Spring Training for Major League Baseball begins on Thursday (February 13, 2014). Which naturally causes us to ask: What does the ACA and America’s pastime have in common?
A few things, actually. First, baseball and health care appear to be two of the few industries exempt from federal antitrust laws. Second, both have a shorthand of acronyms and technical euphemisms that are impossibly difficult for the uninitiated to follow. Third, the cheerleaders for the Massachusetts health reform implementation back in ’06 were none other than Boston’s beloved Red Sox. But it goes beyond that….
Like the uninsured, baseball players are younger – and less obese.
While the Red Sox have the highest average age (28.6) of all MLB teams, the Seattle Mariners are distinguished by having the lowest average age (25.8), the second tallest average height (6’2”), and second heaviest average weight (214). Not surprisingly, MLB players are a youthful, tall, and athletic bunch. Turns out, the uninsured are also disproportionately young – and the rates of obesity among adults age 18-64 is lower among the uninsured relative to folks with coverage. There are health differences to be sure: compared to the general population, MLB players are much more likely to use smokeless tobacco, and they also live an average of about five years longer than the general population. Still, some of the age and health status similarities between MLB players and the uninsured are (forgive the term) striking.
Running the numbers, MLB and the ACA aren’t that far apart in a different way.
Fortunately, the 750 players in MLB have comprehensive health care coverage – so they won’t face a federal tax penalty for being uninsured. But the 22.8 million adults of comparable age (and who are predominantly male) are not so lucky – and many will be liable for the penalty unless they enroll in coverage (or obtain an exemption). And if these folks remain uninsured and have to pay the penalty, the aggregate amount may approximate MLB’s total payroll of $2.94 billion. No joke.
Baseball players have a plethora of agents and lawyers and attorneys.
Fortunately, though, the uninsured have Jackson Hewitt
to level the playing field and pinch hit for them on both taxes and the ACA!
For friends in the media, all statements are on the record. Please feel free to contact me at
or 615-761-6929 if I can be helpful in any way.