With the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act reintroduced in the Senate (S.482) and House of Representatives (H.R.1267) today, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) applauds Congressional sponsors and calls for quick passage of this landmark legislation.
Reintroduced by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) and Congressman Jason Smith (R-Mo.), PHIT would allow consumers to use pre-tax medical accounts to offset costs related to sports, fitness and other qualified physical activities. Eligible expenses would include youth sport registrations, health club memberships; fitness and exercise classes lessons and clinics; running registration fees; yoga; activity-based camps and clinics; and sports and fitness equipment purchases solely used to participate in a physical activity.
“Physical activity is one of the best things individuals can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and it’s often an important first step for those looking to get on track with their fitness goals,” said Senator John Thune. “The PHIT Act reduces the financial burden that can be associated with certain fitness-related purchases, which would make it easier for Americans and their families to prioritize health and wellness – and hopefully save money on future doctor visits, too.”
“When we encourage people to invest in their personal well-being, the overall costs of healthcare will decline,” said Congressman Jason Smith. “In Washington, too often folks treat symptoms with band aids instead of addressing the underlying source of problems. Under the PHIT Act, we want to encourage people to invest in their own fitness and well-being. I know from personal experience that when people get physically active they become healthier and their personal medical bills can shrink along with their waste lines.”
PHIT received strong bipartisan backing in the new Congress with three Senators (1R-2D) and nine members of the House tax writing Committee (4R-5D) signing on as original Co-Sponsors. The lead Democrats on the bills are Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Congressman Ron Kind (D-Wisc.). Congressional support reflects the public backing shown by the PHIT Coalition of national associations, the medical community, youth organizations such as The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the American College of Sports Medicine and The National Recreation and Parks Association.
“For every dollar we invest in encouraging Americans to get active, the more we save on future medical expenses. That’s a fact — and it’s why we should be doing everything we can to help people get exercise and stay healthy,” said Senator Chris Murphy. “Our PHIT Act will make it easier for people in Connecticut and across the country to enjoy the outdoors, join gyms or purchase workout equipment, and it will prevent disease and illness down the road. It’s a great first step toward getting Americans in shape and lowering health care costs.”
“To promote healthy choices, we must endorse lowered fitness costs and eliminate financial barriers to physical activities,” said Congressman Ron Kind. “The PHIT Act will make it more affordable and provide necessary incentives for everyone to adopt active lifestyles.”
Herschel Walker will serve as Honorary Chairman of SFIA’s 18th Annual National Health Through Fitness Dayon Wednesday, March 22nd when athletes join health & fitness leaders and medical experts from around the country on Capitol Hill to promote the PHIT Act and address the U.S. inactivity pandemic.
“We are at a critical juncture in the national debate on healthcare and the PHIT Act is a potential game-changer,” said Tom Cove, SFIA President and CEO. “With more than 30 percent of all Americans adopting sedentary lifestyles, this bill provides direct financial motivations to individuals and families to be active and remain healthy, which is exactly what our country needs.”
To attend National Health Through Fitness Day 2017, register here. If you are unable to attend, but would like to help pass the PHIT Act, click here for the National Health Through Fitness Day Social Media Toolkit.
Join the conversation today, use #PHITDay17 and follow @TheSFIA on Twitter to show your support for the PHIT Act.
Learn more about the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act here