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John Stewart

AMA Expresses Concerns Over Health Care Debate

The AMA Expresses Concern with Health Care Debate   

Contact your Senators and Representative today!

Millions of on-highway and off-highway motorcyclists -- as well as all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riders -- may be adversely impacted by the various heath care bills currently under consideration in Congress. The AMA opposes any legislation that may restrict the freedoms of millions of riders enjoying an active lifestyle.

Motorcyclists and ATV riders cherish personal freedom and responsibility when it comes to enjoying their passion for riding. As Congress continues to deliberate on health care reform, the AMA needs your help in urging your elected officials not to abdicate the rights of the insured to an unelected commission or board, which will render final decisions regarding appropriate medical coverage for individuals who ride as a mode of transportation or for recreation (e.g., denial of a procedure). We must remain vigilant, thereby helping to ensure that motorcyclists and ATV riders will continue to be able to pursue their chosen recreational pursuit without the addition of unneeded prohibitions, limitations or mandates stemming from the health care legislation under consideration.

There is precedent for us to be concerned with regarding any health care legislation coming from Washington. For example in 1996, Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that was intended to ensure non-discrimination in health coverage in the group market. However, when it came to implementing the law, the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service and the Health Care Financing Administration - now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - issued a rule allowing insurers to deny health benefits for an otherwise covered injury that results from certain types of recreational activities, such as skiing, horseback riding, snowmobiling or motorcycling. Even though the AMA has fought this discriminatory rule with legislation, this indicates what could happen if a new health care bill is implemented by bureaucrats in Washington using biased data.

To voice your concern regarding the various health care bills, it is imperative that you contact your elected officials. The fastest way to reach your members of Congress is to call them. You can find contact information for your elected officials on AmericanMotorcyclist.com, click on "Rights," then "Issues & Legislation," and enter your zip code in the "Find your Officials" box. Additionally, a prewritten e-mail is available for you to send to your officials by following the "Take Action" option and entering your information.

All AMA members and anyone else who enjoys an active lifestyle is urged to contact their elected officials and to tell them to protect the freedoms that riders cherish from being dictated by Washington bureaucrats.

 

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John Stewart

BLM to Finalize Rules for Bangs Canyon and North Fruita Desert

The Grand Junction Field Office is finalizing rules for three areas this summer. Rules for the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area have already been released for final review.

“This final step ensures that we can provide the experiences and environment outlined in the management plans for these areas – plans the public helped us create,” said Grand Junction Field Manager Catherine Robertson. “The average user will not see any changes in the way we manage these areas. These are the same messages we've been communicating since the management plans were approved. They are already posted on our signs. In the past, they have been recommendations. In the future, they will be regulations.”

Public comments for Bangs Canyon will be accepted through September 21, 2009. The rules can be viewed online at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-17591.pdf.

Public comments for North Fruita Desert will be accepted through October 5, 2009. Rules can be viewed online at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-18723.pdf.

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John Stewart

Support the Recreational Trails Program

The bipartisan letter thanks the leadership for including the RTP in the Surface Transportation Authorization Act. The letter also makes three specific requests:
 
1.    For RTP funding levels in the legislation to be set at $690 million over six years - $90 million in 2010, $100 million in 2011, $110 million in 2012, $120 million in 2013, $130 million in 2014, and $140 million in 2015;
 
2.    For $2.5 million to be allocated to a DOT study of off-highway recreational fuel use, to ensure that the level of RTP funding reflects
the federal fuel taxes paid for off-highway fuel usage; and
 
3.    For funds allocated to the FHWA to administer the RTP each year to be adjusted from a set amount to one percent of actual available annual funding to ensure that sufficient administrative resources are available for the program.
 
Since the deadline is this Friday, July 17, the fastest way to reach your Members of Congress is to call them. You can find contact information for your Representatives on AmericanMotorcyclist.com, click on "Rights," then "Issues & Legislation," and enter your zip code in the "Find your Officials" box. Additionally, a prewritten e-mail is available for you to send to your U.S. Representatives by following the "Take Action" option and entering your information.
 
All AMA members and anyone else who enjoys recreating on trails responsibly is urged to contact their Representatives and ask them to sign on to the Michaud/Petri letter addressed to the leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of the RTP.
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John Stewart

BRC Seeking RTP Support

*    Read more about the reauthorization in my July magazine column
*    View the First RTP Reauthorization Letter
*    View  the Second RTP Reauthorization Letter

Thank you in advance for agreeing to sign your organization on in support of this very important effort for all recreation.

Sincerely,

Greg Mumm
Executive Director
BlueRibbon Coalition

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John Stewart

Revision to Safety Regulations Proposed at ODSVRA

The proposed revisions would also prohibit specified vehicle operations that are unsafe but do not rise to the level of reckless operation or child endangerment.

The public hearing is Monday, August 17, 2009 at 5:00 p.m. The forty-five day comment period will end at 7:00 p.m. on August 17, 2009.

For additional information, visit the California State Parks OHMVR Division website.

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