The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act was re-introduced earlier this month to both the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R.1267) and the U.S. Senate (S.482).
If passed, PHIT would allow consumers to use pre-tax medical accounts to mitigate fitness-related expenses such as health club memberships and equipment purchases, according to a March 1 statement released by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA).
“Physical activity is one of the best things individuals can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and it’s often an important first step for those looking to get on track with their fitness goals,” act co-sponsor Senator John Thune (R-SD) said in the statement. “The PHIT Act reduces the financial burden that can be associated with certain fitness-related purchases, which would make it easier for Americans and their families to prioritize health and wellness – and hopefully save money on future doctor visits, too.”
SFIA representatives liken PHIT’s physical activity-related financial incentives to those used to encourage home ownership, retirement savings and college education. The act currently has nine sponsors in the House—a bipartisan coalition from the House tax writing committee—and three sponsors in the Senate.
“When we encourage people to invest in their personal well-being, the overall costs of healthcare will decline,” co-sponsor Representative Jason Smith (R-MO) said in the statement. “In Washington, too often folks treat symptoms with Band Aids instead of addressing the underlying source of problems. Under the PHIT Act, we want to encourage people to invest in their own fitness and well-being. I know from personal experience that when people get physically active, they become healthier and their personal medical bills can shrink along with their waste lines.”
SFIA’s 18th annual National Health Through Fitness Day will be held at Capitol Hill on March 22, aimed at promoting PHIT and lobbying for pro-wellness initiatives in Washington. Former football star Herschel Walker is serving as honorary chairman of the event.