Single Proposed Law Could Help The U.S. Population Live Healthier
America thrives on the productivity of people, creativity and never ending ambition – qualities that remain the groundwork of our nation. But if the people of the US are largely unhealthy, then these legendary traits of American people will start to diminish.
Take our nation’s children for example. There are three prevailing health problems – obesity, inactivity and poor nutrition. If we don’t make changes now that make leading healthy lifestyles available to all, then this next generation of business leaders, workforce and innovators of tomorrow, will have to deal with long lasting chronic health problems that will eventually be devastating to our country’s future.
It’s an unfortunate fact that for Americans making healthy choices usually costs more than making unhealthy choices. The Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT), a bill in congress starting March 1, 2017, brings the possibility of having a healthy and active lifestyle attainable for more Americans. If it passes, PHIT will allow many types of fitness activities to be tax free eligible medical expenses. This would be a major change to the current law, at last recognizing physical fitness as part of a complete healthy lifestyle and on par with other eligible medical expenses.
By a significant amount, studies show that being physically active and exercising plays a crucial role in preventing and dealing with chronic diseases – the same diseases that are to blame for the majority of our nation’s health costs. Law makers have long considered fitness related costs a luxury, but exercise is shown to be more effective at preventing chronic diseases as medicine is treating them.
One of the key aspects of the PHIT bill is allowing Americans to use a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) to pay for fitness related activities. More families would take advantage of these savings which could add up to a savings of 20% to 40%. Some of the activities the bill could cover are: local gym memberships, Zumba, Yoga, cycling classes, youth and adult sports, swimming instruction, fitness classes, personal trainers and many more.
If passed, PHIT could help change the old-school view of fitness from the idea that it is a luxury to the reality that physical fitness activity is a necessity and required for a healthy lifestyle.