Physical Activity Incentive “PHIT Act” Hits 40 Co-Sponsors
SILVER SPRING, MD – June 2, 2014 – Supported by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the “Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act”, H.R.956, received three new co-sponsors, bringing the total number of Congressional co-sponsors to 40. Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA), Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) were the three latest co-sponsors, signing on late last week.
“This amount of support for PHIT is unprecedented,” said Bill Sells, SFIA’s Vice President of Government & Public Affairs. “Our message is finally starting to resonate through the halls of Congress. We’re happy to have reached 40, but we’re not stopping until PHIT gets passed as it is vital for our country to be physically active.”
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.
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.
The bipartisan nature of PHIT is seen in the breakdown of the 40 co-sponsors as 21 Democrats and 19 Republicans are currently signed on to the bill.
“Having an even split of Democrats and Republicans signed on to PHIT is proof that physical activity has no political affiliation,” added Sells.
In addition to Representatives Latham, Matheson, and Quiqley, current PHIT Co-sponsors are Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Rep. Robert A. Brady (D-PA), Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Rep. Michael F. Doyle (D-PA), Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-MD), Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA), Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), Rep. John Kline (R-MN), Rep. David Loebsack (D-IA), Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Rep. Scott H. Peters (D-CA), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA), Rep. David P. Roe (R-TN), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Rep. Dennis A. Ross (R-FL), Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz (D-PA), Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), Rep. David Scott (D-GA), Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL), Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Rep. David Valadao (R-CA).