Congress Passes Bill Against Genetic Bias
Special Report - May 2, 2008
The United States Congress passed a bill that would prevent companies from discriminating against people based on findings from genetic tests. The Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA), if signed into law, would prohibit employers, health care providers, insurance companies, and other organizations from withholding services or employment because of results based on genetic tests. The Bill, H.R. 493, has been praised by both parties and is soon expected to be signed into law by President Bush.
The Associated Press reports that “[l]awmakers and advocates called the bill ‘the first major civil rights act of the 21st century.’” Deborah Kotz, writing for U.S. News and World Report refers to a 2004 report from the National Partnership (NP), which documented cases in which people who tested positive for cancer genes and were subsequently denied insurance coverage. The NP report also documented the case of a social worker who was fired once an employer found out that Huntington’s Disease runs in the employee’s family.
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