The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act, which will allow the use of tax-free health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts to be used on qualified activities such as gym memberships and youth sports.
The bill was passed by a vote of 277-142 as part of House Resolution 6199, the Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018. Now, the bill goes to the Senate.
According to Jim Worthington, the board chair of IHRSA and the owner of Newtown Athletic Club, PHIT’s passing in the House of Representatives is a major milestone that’s been 12 years in the making. However, it started seeing traction in September of last year.
“The progress that’s been made over that time has been phenomenal,” said Worthington. “It’s had a lot of bipartisan support, which is significant in today’s climate where everything is pretty divided along party lines — and that’s a credit to this bill and its goal to make Americans healthier and the fact that exercise is medicine.”
However, in order for this to come to fruition, the bill has to pass in the Senate. Worthington encouraged club owners to call their Senators and express their support for the bill — in addition to asking their members to do so as well.
“We really can make a difference,” said Worthington. “We educated Congress on the fact this bill is a great investment in reducing healthcare costs, and we’ll educate the Senate on that as well. It’s good policy.”
If the PHIT Act passes into law, Worthington said the impact would be resounding.
“In the chronicles of the fitness industry, if this gets passed this will be one of the most significant things to ever happen,” he said. “It’s huge. I don’t know if a lot of people in the industry realize how big of a deal this is.”