07NR02 - End Discrimination of Bikers

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Motorcycle Riders Foundation
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice-President of Government Relations
jeff@mrf.org (e-mail)

Feb. 21, 2007

Federal Legislation to End Discrimination of Bikers Introduced

February 21 Washington DC

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation reports that legislation to close the loophole that currently exists in our nation’s health insurance industry has been introduced in the US Senate (S 616) and House (HR 1076).

Under current law, group market insurance customers - that’s everyone who has insurance from a job in the private sector, military or government - can be denied benefits for a particular injury just because it came from an motorcycle accident.

Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996 to ensure proper access to health insurance for all American workers. Once the bureaucrats at the US Department of Health and Human Services issued their final ruling on the law they managed to allow a loophole that can be used to discriminate against motorcyclists when the need health insurance the most, after an accident.

The loophole also is used by insurance companies to deny benefits for any accidents that stem from horseback riding, snowmobiling, and snow skiing, just to name a few.

“This legislation will right an injustice done to America’s motorcycling community,” said Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. “We are asking the Congress to tell the insurance industry that they can no longer get away with refusing benefits that have been bought and paid for by motorcyclists”.

The House legislation has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, while the Senate bill is sitting before the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

In order to pass this legislation, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation needs your help. Please join your fellow freedom fighters and ask your Members of Congress and Senators to co-sponsor this important legislation.

The legislation to close this loophole has been around for the last few sessions of Congress, but the bills introduced in this 110th Congress have a few new twists. First, the House Democrat lead is new. Welcome Bart Stupak to the picture; he is a 8th term Democrat from Upper Peninsula Michigan and the geographic top third of the mitten state. Mr. Stupak’s district has tens of thousands of miles of snowmobiling trails and most of his constituents use their snow machines to commute, run errands and socialize, making the snowmobile an integral part of everyday life. Mr. Stupak is also close friends with the Chairman of the House committee that has jurisdiction over the measure; and is a subcommittee chairman on the same full committee.

The House Republican lead is the same, Michael Burgess. Burgess is medical doctor from, Flower Mound, TX. Burgess was an OB-GYN, delivering 3000 babies before running for Congress in 2003.

The Senate sponsors are the same returning Senators as previous sessions of Congress, Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME). The Motorcycle Riders Foundation thanks all of the champions of this legislation.

Another new development is that the House has adopted the Senate language, making passage into law slightly simpler by eliminating the need for both bodies of Congress to form a conference committee to iron out the legislative differences. Previously the House and Senate had slightly different solutions to closing the loophole.

Last Congress saw no major movement on the legislation. With your help, we can close the loophole that allows our health insurance providers to deny benefits for an injury simply because it involved a motorcycle.

Ask your federal Representative to support HR 1076 and your two US Senators to support S 616. Should you receive any commitments or denials to support the legislation, or if you have any other legislative question or concerns, please contact the MRF.

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(c)All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is a membership-based, national motorcyclists' rights organization headquartered in Washington, DC. The first motorcyclists' rights organization to establish a full-time presence in Washington, DC, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. The MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause of rider safety and rider freedom.

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