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Wednesday
Feb022011

WHIP Introduced in Senate

Workforce Health Improvement Program Introduced in Senate

Last week, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa reintroduced the Workforce Health Improvement Program Act (WHIP) as part of a comprehensive wellness bill known as the Healthier Lifestyles and Prevention America Act (HeLP America Act). HeLP is aimed at reducing obesity, chronic disease and health care costs.

Harkin is Chairman of the powerful Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and is a long-time IHRSA ally. "We need to integrate health and wellness into all elements of American communities…By providing people the information and resources they need to live longer, healthier lives, the HeLP America Act will empower people to take care of their health, boosting overall quality of life and lowering our spiraling health care costs," said Harkin.

The WHIP provision of the bill would allow employers to deduct the cost of off-site health club memberships for their employees and exempts this benefit as taxable income for employees.

Helen Durkin, IHRSA’s Executive Vice President of Global Public Policy, is pleased with the bill’s introduction early into the legislative session, but acknowledges that a long road still lies ahead. “I’m thrilled with HeLP’s introduction, and thankful to Senator Harkin for all of his hard work,” says Durkin. “But now the real challenge is before us, and that is to see that other lawmakers commit to wellness and prevention by turning HeLP into law.”

For more on the WHIP Act and IHRSA’s federal initiatives, visit ihrsa.org/federal-activity.