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PHIT Hits All-Time High with 28th Co-Sponsor; Creates Tax Break for Activity Expenses

Date: 10/30/13

 Parties disagree on Health Care but Agree on Physical Activity to Improve Health

One month after the conclusion of the inaugural SFIA Industry Leaders Summit, where declining participation rates was a central issue, Congressman Robert Brady (D-PA) signed on as the 28th co-sponsor of H.R. 956 “The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act”, giving the legislation the most co-sponsors ever.  Even more significant is the balanced support for PHIT, with 15 Democrat and 13 Republican co-sponsors.  

The PHIT legislation would change the IRS definition of a “medical expense” to include physical activity as a form of prevention.  Expanding the medical expense definition would make physical activity expenses reimbursable using pre-tax dollars in Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts and would allow consumers to deduct physical activity costs once they meet the 7.5 percent of income threshold on medical expenses.

“Given the disparate views on the future of health care in the U.S., it is impressive to have such even support from the two parties on an issue that relates to health care,” said Bill Sells, SFIA Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs.  

Click here to view the complete list of PHIT co-sponsors.   

Eligible expenses would include sports and fitness equipment solely used to participate in a physical activity, gym memberships, fitness & exercise classes, youth & adult sports’ registration fees, lessons & clinics.  The World Health Organization conducted a study and reported that every dollar the U.S. invests in physical activity will result in a $3.20 reduction in future medical spending. With physical activity in decline and obesity on the rise in America, PHIT would help encourage physical activity as a way to reverse this trend and reduce health care costs.  

“America cannot afford to remain on the current path and spend one in every five dollars of our GDP on healthcare. The strong bi-partisan support for PHIT is truly indicative of the universal view that physical activity is critical to improving health in America. PHIT will continue to gain co-sponsors and momentum going forward as Congress considers ways to improve our health care system to reduce costs. They will definitely take notice of the bi-partisan approval of this physical activity initiative,” said Sells.

The SFIA will be hosting a webinar on November 12th to dig deeper into the participation trends and insights (Click here for more details). The webinar will feature SFIA President & CEO Tom Cove and PHIT America founder Jim Baugh.


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