Text: Hot Bike, AMA, And Sema
Issues That Threaten Motorcycling In America
Aside from the fledgling economy continuing to cinch its grip on struggling motorcycle manufacturers, dealers, mom-and-pop service shops, custom bike builders, aftermarket parts manufacturers, and motorcycle enthusiasts in general, it seems every year new laws, regulations, and legislature gets proposed, passed, or silently slips by that drastically affects our passion. Not only do we deal with the same struggles as the rest of the country to figure out ways to stay afloat, we also have to deal with the compounded impact of local, state, and federal government impeding the progress and growth of our industry and overall enjoyment of motorcycling. When you figure in the fact that the automotive and off-road-vehicle industries are affected by many of the same laws and regulations we face, the number of businesses and individuals impacted is staggering.
On the bright side, we live in a democracy that allows us to take part in and shape our society. As a collective group, we can provide a significant voice in alerting our local, state, and federal government officials as to how implementation of certain laws and regulations can/will drastically impact not only our industries, but also cause a ripple effect on the overall economic recovery of our country. With November elections right around the corner, we worked with two of the largest groups that help fight for and support our passions, the American Motorcyclists Association (AMA; ama-cycle.org) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA; sema.org), to help you become more aware of some of the issues that could change the face of motorcycling as we know it. Below you will also find some information about what you can do to help change/stop these threats; however, there is a ton more info that had to be edited out for space.
I. Health insurance discrimination
Threat: Following the passage of the original HIPAA legislation in 1996, bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services created a loophole that allowed insurance companies to deny benefits (known as "source-of-injury" exclusions) to people who are injured while participating in legal transportation and recreational activities, such as riding motorcycles or off-road vehicles.
Status: In March 2009, the House of Representatives passed AMA-supported legislation that requires insurance companies to disclose activities that policies will not cover at the point-of-sale.
• H.R. 1253 was passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 422 - 3 before being passed to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
• The Senate has yet to consider the legislation.
The ease of passage for H.R. 1253 demonstrated a willingness from Congress to consider the issue of source-of-injury discrimination in health insurance policies. However, many members of Congress are not yet able to support a bill that would close the loophole on these kinds of benefit exclusions without examples of discrimination from their constituents.
What riders can do: Contact their U.S. Senators and urge them to pass H.R. 1253 to bring attention back to the issue of insurance benefit discrimination.
If riders have been denied coverage for an injury sustained while legally operating a motorcycle or OHV, contact the AMA immediately to help make the case for passing legislation that closes this HIPAA loophole. Also, riders should contact the AMA if they have a policy that would deny coverage for a motorcycle- or OHV-related incident. Contact: AMA Government Relations Department, Sheila Andrews, (202) 742-4303, firstname.lastname@example.org.