PHIT Act Continues to Garner Bipartisan Support

Proving that it is possible to actually have a bipartisan agreement on something everyone agrees is a good idea, Congressmen Ron Kind (D-WI) and Mike Kelly (R-PA), lead sponsors of the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act, sent a letter to all members of the House this month seeking additional support of their bill to make activity more affordable. The PHIT Act (H.R. 1679) would allow individuals to pay for activity-related expenses using pre-tax dollars.

This bipartisan bill has garnered the support of 33 Republicans and 36 Democrats in the House, showing that the widespread need for a healthier nation extends across party lines. The “Dear Colleague” letter, sent by Kind and Kelly, outlines expenditures that would qualify as a form of disease prevention, allowing individuals and families to save money on gym memberships, youth camps, sports leagues, equipment and fitness classes, among other things.

“Earlier this year the CDC reported 90 percent of health expenditures are used to treat chronic disease and mental illness, the incidence of both conditions is lower in the active population,” stated Congressman Kind. “Engaging in regular physical activity can improve people’s health and quality of life to reduce the incidence of preventable and costly chronic diseases. The PHIT Act lowers the financial barrier to activity to encourage healthier lifestyles, which in turn, will reduce overall health care spending.”

Since the PHIT Act benefits would operate through individual’s Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and the average household income of HSA holders is $57,000, PHIT would give lower-income consumers the ability to reduce their activity expenses via the use of pre-tax dollars. Physical activity leads to prevention of chronic disease, and that is worth the investment.