Sources: Sports & Fitness Industry Association, PHIT America
“PassThePHITAct.org” Is Next Step to Continue Momentum
SILVER SPRING, MD – March 18, 2016 – Landmark legislation to reduce consumers’ costs for sports and fitness activities took a huge step forward during 17th SFIA National Health Through Fitness (NHTF) Day, co-sponsored by PHIT America and American College of Sports Medicine on Wednesday, March 16. More than 90 meetings with U.S. Senators and Representatives spurred unprecedented commitment for the PHIT (Personal Health Investment Today) Act, positioning the bill for possible passage later this year.
“It’s incredible how much progress we made today. Our athletes and industry executives made huge inroads with the PHIT Act,” said Tom Cove, SFIA President and CEO. “Our message is resonating, our efforts are paying off, and we’re seeing legislative momentum growing right in front of us.”
“Passing the PHIT Act is a major priority this year,” said PHIT America Founder Jim Baugh. “To say that inactivity in America is having an adverse effect on health care costs in the U.S. is an understatement. By passing the PHIT Act, it will support grassroots sports, fitness and recreational activities and will help get Americans healthier.”
The PHIT Act would change current federal tax law to include physical activity as a medical expense as a form of prevention. This change would give consumers the option of using funds in pre-tax medical accounts to pay for expenses related to sports, fitness and other physical activities. Americans could invest up to $2,000 annually to reimburse physical activity costs using PHIT-designated contributions to existing pre-tax Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Health Savings Accounts (HSA), and other medical reimbursement arrangements. In other words, the PHIT Act will allow families and individuals to use these pre-tax savings for youth sports fees, health club dues, race registrations, purchase of sports and fitness equipment and more. Effectively, consumers will receive 20-30% out-of-pocket discounts on sports and fitness expenses.
“Our celebrity athletes were on fire—several Senators and Representatives committed to support the PHIT Act right in the meetings,” said Bill Sells, SFIA Vice President of Public Policy. “Now we have to get everyone in the industry and the country to go to PassThePHITAct.org and send letters to Congress to build on this rushing momentum.”
The list of sports celebrities visiting Capitol Hill on National Health Through Fitness Day, who helped deliver the pro-physical activity message, included former Heisman Trophy winner/former NFL All-Pro/ex-U.S. Winter Olympian Herschel Walker; 9-time U.S. Olympic track & field gold medalist Carl Lewis; 7-time NHL All-Star/3-time NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin (Capitals); 1974 National League MVP/10-time MLB All-Star Steve Garvey (Dodgers and Padres); MLB Hall of Fame pitcher Rich ‘Goose’ Gossage; 4-time U.S. Olympic swimming medalist Summer Sanders; NHL Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine; 3-time NBA champion A.C. Green (Lakers); current NFL nose tackle Brandon Williams (Ravens); USA Weightlifting’s Cara Heads-Slaughter; former boxing champ & celebrity trainer Danny Musico; former NFL cornerback (Cowboys) & collegiate All-American Shawn Springs; 3-time U.S. volleyball Olympian/2-time Olympic silver medalist Tayyiba Haneef-Park; current MLS defender Bobby Boswell (DC United); former 4-time NFL All Pro linebacker (Redskins) Ken Harvey; and former NFL defensive back (Eagles, Giants, Jets, Cardinals, & Buccaneers) John Booty.
“To have Alex Ovechkin score the NHL game-winning goal in overtime Tuesday night, and then join our effort in congressional meetings Wednesday afternoon, directly asking Senators to support the PHIT Act, is so powerful that it’s hard to describe. We are so grateful to all our member companies who brought in athletes to participate,” Cove added.
ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness
research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit www.sfia.org.
PHIT America: An educational, grassroots, advocacy and social media marketing campaign -- is designed to reach millions of Americans and create a Movement for a Fit and Healthy America. PHIT America will combat the obesity and sedentary activity crisis -- which is having an adverse effect on health care costs in the U.S. -- by promoting new legislation and grassroots programs that will help get Americans more active, playing more sports, exercising, getting fit and becoming healthier.