No matter which side of the political line you're
on (or even if you're on the fence), here's a piece of legislation
everyone should get behind: the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT,
pronounced “fit”) Act of 2011 (H.R. 2649).
Those who were at the Technical Meeting heard
Mike May, public information officer for the Sporting Goods
Manufacturers Association (SGMA) talking about this. For those who
didn't, here's the Reader's Digest version: The PHIT Act would
change current federal tax law to allow for the deduction or use of
pre-tax dollars to cover expenses related to sports, fitness and
other physical activities. The concept is simple: With the passage
of the PHIT Act, Americans could invest up to $2,000 annually to pay
for physical activities by investing money in existing pre-tax
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Medical Savings Accounts (MSA)
and/or medical reimbursement arrangements.
Right now, these accounts are set up to provide reimbursement for
things like prescriptions and doctor’s appointments when we’re sick
— in other words, reactive care. There’s no provision for preventive
care. (Is it any wonder that IHRSA reports that more than $76.6
billion on healthcare costs are directly associated with inactivity?
There’s no monetary reward system for people who buck the trend.)
PHIT would only expand the expenses eligible for reimbursement to
include physical activity costs as a form of prevention; PHIT would
not increase contribution limits to these accounts. Once an
individual or family spends 7.5 percent of their income on qualified
medical expenses, they could deduct physical activity expenses
directly. What qualifies as physical activity costs? Things like
health club memberships, youth sports programs, home exercise
equipment and other fees associated with programs of physical
What can you do to help promote this? Call, write or e-mail your
elected officials. Note sure how? Go to the free and easy website of
www.USA.Gov. Just look up your
state and you'll see the links to the proper elected officials.
Shoot each one a quick e-mail saying simply,
"My name is __________________ and I am asking
you to help support the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act
of 2011 (H.R. 2649). Thank you."
Take a few minutes now to send the free e-mails. Remember that the
whole athletic industry -- including your portion of it -- can
benefit from the passage of this act.