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Legislation That Can Help Our Industry and How to Promote It

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 activity.

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.

© 2012 American Sports Builders Association 

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