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[RC] Employer Provided Health-care Discriminates Against Horseback Riders - sandy . l . holder

Although I'm generally a lurker, the potential loss of my health-care insurance, simply because I ride a horse, compelled me to send this to Ridecamp.

In the '90's, Congress passed a law meant to bar employers from discriminating in the health-care coverage they offer employees.  But federal bureaucrats reversed that law, writing rules to allow health-insurance bias against horseback riders and others who engage in legal activities (like motorcycle riding, skiing, ATV riding and snowmobiling).  Following intense efforts by the AHC (American Horse Council) and AMA (American Motorcycle Association), legislation has been introduced in Congress to end health-care discrimination.  This new legislation would correct that action.

The bill, introduced by U.S. Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) on February 14, would "promote health-care coverage parity for individuals participating in legal recreational activities or legal transportation activities."

Specifically, the bill states that "a plan or issuer may not deny benefits otherwise provided for the treatment of any injury solely because such injury resulted from participation of the participant or beneficiary in an activity such as motorcycling, snowmobiling, all-terrain vehicle riding, horseback riding, skiing or other similar legal activity."

The threat of losing health-care benefits is enormous.  "Medical bills from an accident can easily total tens of even hundreds of thousands of dollars," Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations said.  "Without insurance, that can amount to a devastating blow to any rider."

"We succeeded in this effort years ago, only to see our efforts reversed by federal agencies," Moreland said.  "Now, we have a second chance to protect all legal riders from health-insurance discriminations.  We need to take advantage of this opportunity."

Although I haven't seen anything from the AHC yet, the AMA has set up an AMA Rapid Response Center.  You can easily access sending a document to your Senators by accessing this web-site and simply typing in your name and address.  Having been injured enough once before that I needed surgery and given the potential loss of benefits, I personal believe it well worth the few minutes to access the web-site and notify my senators.  Do you agree?

All the best,
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