Imagine if you could take a simple blood test to determine whether you were likely to get cancer in the near future. Armed with that information, you would be vigilant and do everything in your power to ensure early detection and treatment. Now imagine that taking that test and receiving that life-saving information could also lead to you losing your job or result in your inability to get health insurance. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? Of course not! It seems obvious that employers and insurers should not be able to discriminate based on a person’s genetics. However, Federal Law currently provides no such protection. Fortunately, Congress, and indeed the Administration, now appear poised to remedy the situation.
Today, the Senate is likely to pass the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. A similar Bill previously passed in the House and was supported by the President. The Act would make it illegal for employers to use a person’s genetic information when making employment decisions. The Act also restricts the ability of Insurers to use of genetic markers or predispositions as justification for rejecting coverage or increasing premiums.
Hopefully, this Act will not only prevent ugly discrimination, but also save lives.