Legislators Receive Bill to End Biker Healthcare Bias
June 14, 2005
Filed under Uncategorized
A bipartisan bill to end health-care discrimination against motorcyclists and ATV enthusisasts has been introduced in the U.S. House.
U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) on June 8 introduced H.R. 2793 -- "The HIPAA Recreational Injury Technical Correction Act,” which would bar health-care discrimination against those who take part in legal transportation and recreational activities such as motorcycling, ATV riding, snowmobiling, or horseback riding.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) introduced similar legislation in the Senate: S. 577, "The HIPAA Recreational Injury Technical Correction Act."
On August 21, 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to prohibit employers from denying health care coverage based on a worker's pre-existing medical conditions or participation in legal activities, such as motorcycling.
Later, federal bureaucrats reversed the law, writing rules to allow health-insurance discrimination against motorcyclists and others who engage in legal activities like ATV riding, or horseback riding.
"It's shameful to allow health insurers to discriminate against individuals who take part in perfectly legal hobbies and activities" said Rep. Strickland. "According to this rule, a person injured while drinking and driving would be covered by their health insurance, but an individual who falls from a motorcycle may not. It just makes no sense."
Groups lobbying for insurance rights include the AMA, BlueRibbon Coalition, Motorcycle Riders Foundation, ABATE of Wisconsin, ABATE of Ohio, the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, and the American Horse Council.
"This loophole written by federal bureaucrats must be changed," said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. "We need all AMA and ATVA members and all motorcyclists to contact the members of their congressional delegations to support legislation to fix this."
"The development of this bill could not have been possible without bipartisan congressional support and the hard work of the American Motorcyclist Association,” said Rep. Burgess. “I look forward to working alongside the AMA to get this legislation passed into law."