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Photo by Shyam Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Gym memberships and fitness class fees could become tax deductible under a new bill proposed by Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO).

But, but, but: The benefits would not extend to those who exercise via paid smartphone apps or streaming services.

Details: The Personal Health Investment Today Act would let individual taxpayers claim up to $500 annually for memberships and classes — a type of deduction that today is only available to those exercising at a doctor's instruction due to a diagnosed condition. It also includes up to $250 in deductions for "personal safety equipment."

  • The goal is to encourage preventative health.
  • It says that "golf, hunting and horseback riding shall not be treated as a physical exercise or physical activity.

A spokesman for Rep. Smith says that the bill would not cover subscription streaming services like those offered by Peloton, which sells at-home stationary bikes with connected monitors that offer both live and on-demand cycling classes. Those apparently fall into an exclusion for "exercise videos" and "books."

John Foley, Peloton's founder and CEO, tells Axios via email:

"We're hoping we'll be included. Scratch that. We're not just hoping. We're looking to lobby to ensure we're included. Feels we should be obviously. I think we fall squarely into 'participation or instruction in a program of physical exercise.'"

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.