January 12 2001

BIKERS BETRAYED, SNAGGED BY HEALTH CARE CATCH-22

MRF RIDERS' ALERT:

Washington, D.C. - The Clinton Administration has issued the long-awaited regulations that implement the nondiscrimination provisions of HIPAA - the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Ironically, rather than guard against discrimination, the new regulations all but guarantee continued discrimination against motorcyclists by employer health care programs.

Observed MRF President Tom Pauley, "The proposed regulations will not end but extend discrimination against American working families who choose to own and operate motorcycles. Motorcyclists have waited more than four years for the adequate health care coverage they and their families deserve, only to see themselves betrayed and the will of the Congress thwarted."

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation and its ally, the American Motorcyclist Association, blazed an indelible trail of legislative and administrative actions that confirm that HIPAA was designed and intended to safeguard, not short-change, motorcyclists.

Examples: On April 28, 1996, in a U.S. Senate debate on the legislation, a colloquy ensued between Senator Moseley-Braun and Senator Kassebaum. This colloquy confirmed that the intent of the Congress was to ensure that "beneficiaries are not excluded from health care coverage because they participate in activities such as motorcycling"

On February 3, 1997, in its original comments on the legislation, MRF appealed for regulations that would, among other things, prohibit employer health care plans from lessening benefits to certain employees (e.g., riders) or limiting benefits based on the source of injury (e.g., motorcycle accidents). MRF addressed these same concerns to a broad spectrum of U.S. Senators who concurred in MRF's views.

"The proposed regulations are the Catch-22 for motorcyclists," Mr. Pauley said. "If these regulations stand, employers will be required to cover employees who are motorcyclists but free to deny them coverage should they sustain injuries in an accident involving a motorcycle."

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation's urgent call to action:

First, call your Congressman and two U.S. Senators (at 202-224-3121) or reach them via e-mail. Share this MRF RIDERS' ALERT with them. Tell them the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor and the Department of Health & Human Services have gotten it wrong -- -- and your health care suffers in the balance -- and ask them to add their objection.

Second, as soon as possible, but NOT LATER THAN APRIL 9, 2001, submit your "public comments" letter via e-mail to HIPAA702@pwba.dol.gov. You can also submit signed comments in triplicate by mail to:

U.S. Department of Labor
Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration
200 Constitution Ave. NW, Room C-5331
Washington, DC 20210
Attn: Non-discrimination Comments

Third, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, send a copy of your "public comments" letter to the incoming Administration. Remember, as a candidate, President-elect Bush promised to end health care discrimination to motorcyclists:

HHS Transition Advisory Team
Bush-Cheney Transition Team
1800 G Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20270
(Via Fax): 202-513-7533

Concluded MRF's Tom Pauley: "Continued discrimination against American motorcyclists requires a full, complete and rigorous response not just by riders and their families, but by all Americans who value fair play and even-handedness. I call on every member of every State Motorcyclists' Rights Organization to write in opposition to this betrayal."

- MRF: My Ride is Freedom -

The first motorcyclists' rights organization to establish a full-time legislative advocacy presence in Washington. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause of rider safety and rider freedom. MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists' rights organizations and the very founders of the American rider rights movement among its leading members. Motorcyclists worldwide can thumb-start their search for rider rights and safety on the web at www.mrf.org.

All information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is an independent, membership-based national motorcyclists' rights organization headquartered in Washington D.C. which operates in co-partnership with State Motorcyclists' Rights Organizations nationwide. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulation, motorcycling safety education, training, licensing and public awareness. The MRF provides individual and SMRO member-volunteers with guidance, support and information to protect motorcyclists' rights and advance motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. The MRF sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists' rights activists and publishes a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.

Voice: 202-546-0983, Fax: 202-546-0986, E-Mail: wyld@mrf.org, website: http://www.mrf.org


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