On hand for the discussions were (from left to right): Brian Galonek, Beth Russert, Kevin Cronin, Heidi Chatfield, Greg Canose, Michelle M. Smith, and George Delta.

Incentive Legislation Campaign Promotes Tax Changes to Reduce Health Costs

Incentive Federation Executive Director George Delta explained that upcoming tax reform and health care issues on the horizon for the 112th Congress that begins in January could provide a workable venue to promote the use of incentives as a means to reduce health care costs.

Representatives of the Incentive Legislation Campaign (ILC) recently traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with staff advisors of targeted members of Congress as part of the ILC effort to institutionalize the power of wellness incentives as a way to encourage a healthy American workforce.

Seeking to amend the Internal Revenue Code by including employer deductions and employee tax exemptions for wellness incentives, ILC representatives met with the Senate Finance Committee senior benefits consul for Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.; tax advisors for Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; health care policy advisor for Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; and a legislative aide for Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Incentive Federation Executive Director George Delta, who worked with ILC Legislative Counsel Jim Miller to organize the meetings, explained that upcoming tax reform and health care issues on the horizon for the 112th Congress that begins in January could provide a workable venue to promote the use of incentives as a means to reduce health care costs.

“One of the best ways to encourage more widespread use of wellness incentives is to make them nontaxable to employees and deductible to employers, so the ILC is educating members of Congress about how this could be done by simply adding a new section to the tax code that is similar to a measure already used to encourage successful safety incentives,” Delta said.

ILC Legislative Committee Chair Greg Canose, president of Award Marketing Services LLC, assessed the meetings and said, “We were encouraged by the willingness of the senators’ advisors to explore the feasibility of our proposal and to learn more about the power of incentives to promote desirable changes in behavior.”

“We also appreciated their candor in letting us know the viability of our proposal will depend on the priorities of the incoming Congress and our ability to provide persuasive information regarding the penetration of safety and wellness programs along with ways to handle the costs of our proposal,” Canose said.

Also on hand for the Capitol Hill meetings were ILC members: Heidi Chatfield, VP of marketing and operations at All Star Incentive Marketing; Kevin Cronin, executive vice president of Client Strategy, Solutions and Implementations at Rideau Recognitions Solutions; Brian Galonek, president of All Star Incentive Marketing; Beth Rusert, vice president of Communications and Public Affairs at Maritz; Steve Slagle, president and CEO of Promotional Products Association International; and Michelle M. Smith, vice president of Business Development at O.C. Tanner.

Delta explained that ILC members will continue to gather data and case studies that can be brought to Capitol Hill early next year once the 112th Congress has established its legislative calendar and agenda.

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