Boston—July 13, 2018—The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is pleased to announce that the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act was reported out of the House Ways and Means Committee. In a bipartisan show of support, the committee voted in favor of PHIT by a vote of 28 to 7. This landmark action clears an important legislative hurdle for PHIT. Now the bill will await consideration by the entire House.
On July 6, Reps. Jason Smith and Ron Kind, the original sponsors of PHIT (H.R. 1267), introduced H.R. 6312, a modified version of PHIT better positioned to move onto to the next stage of the legislative process.
This next stage is a called markup, where the House Ways and Means Committee formally considers the bill and either accepts or rejects it. The Ways and Means Committee held the markup yesterday and at 10 a.m. PHIT was accepted, freeing it to move forward. This means that PHIT can now be added to a larger legislative package to be voted on by the House. The larger legislative package could be an HSA bill, part of tax correction legislation or a number of potential pieces of moving legislation.
Reps. Smith and Kind introduced H.R. 6312 to overcome objections to their original bill. The new bill:
- Removes exercise videos and exercise equipment from the definition of medical care;
- Removes golfing, sailing, hunting, and other expensive/elitist activities from the definition; and
- It caps the use of HSA or FSA money for health club dues to $500 per individual and $1,000 per family. It also adds a cost of living increase to those totals.
At the markup hearing, Rep. Kind also spoke to his efforts to push for reincorporating items that were removed from the bill. Because there is increasing evidence to show that rising costs in athletic equipment and organized team sports are preventing many children from participating, Kind is continuing to have conversations about the value behind adding back the condition that would reduce the cost of athletic equipment.
“There were some last-minute changes made to the legislation, in part to reduce the cost. Right now, we’re looking at a $3.5 billion 10-year cost to it. That will exclude athletic equipment. We’ve agreed to continue conversations to see at the very least that we try to cover that athletic equipment that children need to participate, and hopefully we’ll be able to reach some landing ground before floor action on it. That will inevitably increase the cost of this bill, but I think it’s important that we work through this and make sure that we’re not leaving children behind just because of their own socio-economic circumstances,” Kind said.
If the larger bill containing the PHIT provision is passed, it would then move to the Senate for consideration. The Senate would most likely consider S. 482, introduced by Sen. Thune.
Given the current climate on the Hill, this is positive news that the industry can use to fuel PHIT’s passage. To keep the momentum going, IHRSA, its partners, and its supporters will celebrate this win and continue to push for a larger victory and a healthier nation.