|House Bill Introduced To End Biker Insurance Bias. - Thursday, April 17, 2003 at 19:09
April 11 - U.S. Reps. Scott McInnis (R-Colo.) and Ted Strickland (D-Ohio), joined by 49 colleagues, have introduced HR 1749 — "The Health Care Parity for Legal Transportation and Recreational Activities Act of 2003" — which would bar health-care discrimination against those who take part in legal transportation and recreational activities such as motorcycling, ATV riding, snowmobiling, skiing, or horseback riding.
U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) introduced similar legislation in the Senate earlier: S 423.
The bi-partisan measures are in response to action taken recently by federal bureaucrats that legalized health-insurance discrimination against riders.
In the 1990s, Congress passed a law meant to bar employers from refusing to cover motorcycle-related injuries in the health-insurance coverage they offer employees: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. But federal bureaucrats reversed that law, writing rules to allow health-insurance discrimination against motorcyclists and others who engage in legal activities like skiing, snowmobiling, ATV riding or horseback riding.
"Medical bills from an accident can easily total tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. "Without insurance, that can amount to a devastating blow to any rider."
McInnis (left) noted that the regulation written by federal bureaucrats to carry out the original law "grants protective status to recreationists without any substantive benefits. This (new) legislation ensures that the original intent of the (original) legislation that passed overwhelmingly will be upheld."
Strickland (right) called it "sad" that Congress had to step in on the issue.
"When Congress passed (the original law) we intended to make sure someone who is motorcycling, snowmobiling, running, or walking couldn't be denied health-care coverage," Strickland said. "I'm pleased to be the original co-sponsor of a bill that would ensure these individuals receive the medical coverage they need in the event they are injured while doing one of these legal activities."
Moreland wanted to thank all those involved.
"We got a lot of help on this issue, which goes to show how motorcyclists can get things done when they band together," Moreland said. "ABATE of Wisconsin and ABATE of Ohio were particularly helpful in getting this legislation introduced."
Participants of the AMA's "Introduction to Washington" seminar also worked hard to lobby, as well as members of the Mid-South MILE from Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
Among those also involved in the effort to end health-insurance discrimination are the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, National Ski Areas Association, the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, and the American Horse Council.
Riders and others who want to end this type of insurance discrimination are urged to send letters to their members of Congress asking them to support the McInnis-Strickland and Collins-Feingold bills. An easy way to do this is to use the AMA Rapid Response Center.
U.S. representatives who support the new measure are: Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), Bob Beauprez (R-Colo.), Mary Bono (R-Calif.), Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Julia Carson (D-Ind.), Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Harold Ford (D-Tenn.), Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Mark Green (R-Wis.), Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), Tim Holden (D-Pa.), Tim Johnson (R-Ill.), Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), Mark Kennedy (R-Minn.), Dale Kildee (D-Mich.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.).
Also, U.S. Reps. Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.), John Kline (R-Minn.), Tom Latham (R-Iowa), William Lipinski (D-Ill.), Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Scott McInnis (R-Colo.), Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Thomas Petri (R-Wis.), Todd Russell Platts (R-Pa.), Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), John Shimkus (R-Ill.), Ted Strickland (D-Ohio), Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), James Walsh (R-N.Y.), and Jerry Weller (R-Ill.).
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