The Bright Spot in Politics for America’s Camps

phit-america-swimmer

As the election season grinds to an end, one survey reports that 52% of Americans are experiencing related stress.1 Yikes! Is anyone else ready for this election to be over?

In light of this, I’m glad to share some good news coming out of Washington: The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act, new legislation that would allow Americans to use pre-tax dollars for fitness expenses (including camps, classes, and clinics!), is gaining momentum.

Read our introduction to PHIT from November 2014.

A total of 100 congressional sponsors, close to an even split between Republicans (45) and Democrats (55), have united to support this legislation. PHIT America, the campaign dedicated to increasing physical activity on a national scale, has reported the 100th co-sponsor for the PHIT Act – Scott Dejarlais, M.D. (R-TN).2

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls physical activity “the wonder drug” for preventing chronic medical conditions, but it requires an investment of time and money.3 “Simply put, the PHIT Act provides a financial incentive for a physically active lifestyle,” says PHIT America Founder Jim Baugh.

How Americans can save on fitness

The PHIT Act will make physical activity expenses reimbursable through pre-tax dollars (up to $2,000) in Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). Pre-Tax Medical Spending Accounts allow Americans to set aside funds to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses, such as dental and vision care not covered by a health benefits plan.

Expenses eligible for pre-tax reimbursement under the PHIT act

  • Sport/activity camps and clinics
  • Youth and adult sports’ registration fees
  • Instructional lessons and clinics
  • Running and fitness event registration fees
  • Fitness and exercise classes
  • Gym/health club memberships
  • Sports and fitness equipment solely used to participate in a physical activity

How you can support PHIT

Passage of the PHIT Act will make physical activity more affordable for all Americans, especially families. Here’s how you can help support it:

  1. Email your member of Congress now.
  2. Call your U.S. representatives to advocate for the PHIT Act.
  3. Write a personal letter to your representatives. (The “old fashioned way” is still most effective.)
  4. Follow the PHIT Act on social media.
  5. Tell your friends!
  6. Make a donation to PHIT America.

Fun fact: America’s fittest senators

Among those in Congress who introduced the PHIT Act, U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) has been called the fastest man in Congress by Runners World magazine.4 Thune also was listed in Health Fitness Revolution’s “Ten Fittest American Senators in 2016.” Guess who else is on the list? Vice Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).5

It’s nice to see both parties sharing the fitness limelight!

Sources:

1 NY Times: Talking to Your Therapist About Election Anxiety

2 PHIT America: “It Is TIme For All Americans To Contact Their Members Of Congress NOW”

3 PHIT America: “Physical Activity is the Closest Thing We Have to a “Wonder Drug” CDC Director, Dr. Thomas Frieden

4 Runner’s World: 2012 Election Year Special

5 Health Fitness Revolution: Top 10 Fittest Senators