The AMA is looking for help in getting Congressional support for H.R. 1076, the HIPAA Recreational Injury Technical Correction Act. According to this AMA press release:

The AMA is calling on motorcyclists and others who face health insurance discrimination to urge their U.S. Representatives to support H.R. 1076, known as the HIPAA Recreational Injury Technical Correction Act,” said Moreland. “Time is short. The bill has broad bi-partisan support but we need 218 votes for passage. If we don’t act by April, we will likely miss our chance for legislative action in 2008.

The problem is that employers, and some other health insurance providers, are beginning to discriminate against motorcyclists and others who engage in legal recreational activities that the employers don’t like. Often they won’t disclose this little tidbit, they just won’t pay if you run up a bill for a motorcycle (or horseback, or climbing, etc.) accident. If we had anything resembling an open market for health insurance this wouldn’t be an issue. But we don’t have a market – we have a government subsidized, bureaucratically-managed fiasco that has evolved to limit our coverage options to either what our employer provides, or nothing. So we pay out the ass for healthcare premiums (because the government has mandated that employers must provide coverage for all employees if they provide for any) but the government doesn’t require that employer to actually pay claims for that coverage if it’s an activity the employer doesn’t like. Great idea.

Apparently this brilliant little loophole is a result of the jackasses in Congress passing a bill – the Health Information Privacy Privacy Protection Act – back in 1996 but abdicating the writing of the actual rules of the bill to the Dept. of Health and Human Services. This stellar bureaucracy screwed up the rules, creating this money-saving opportunity for employers. H.R. 1076 is a corrective bill to fix their screw up. I don’t know the history behind it. I don’t know if the AMA played an active and important role or if someone else did all the work and the AMA is just taking credit. I hope this is something the AMA really pushed for and made an impact. This is the sort of thing they ought to be doing instead of running around organizing races.

In any case, this is an important bill. The AMA has a simple, online tool to help you contact your elected representative and tell them to actually do something useful and sign onto this bill. Click the link and do it now. If we don’t act together we may not have the chance to act at all.