Genetic Discrimination: The End Before the Beginning

Posted May 22nd, 2008 by

UpdatedThe Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was signed into law by President Bush on May 21, 2008.

In a victory for openness and personalized medicine, on May 1, Congress sent President Bush a bill forbidding employers and health insurers from discriminating on the basis of genetic information. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act was passed in the Senate 95-0, and in the House of Representatives 414-1, and President Bush is expected to sign it into law.

dnaa.jpgNow, Americans can take advantage of genetic testing without fear of being dropped from their health insurance or fired from their job for having a pre-existing condition. In essence, a person’s genes are protected in the same manner as their age, gender, race, and religion (and if you think about it, genes are merely an extension of some of those things!). Before this bill became a reality, many individuals were paying in cash for genetic tests or even denying themselves information that could have prepared them for, prevented, or aided in treatment of a disease.

For more information, see the AP article.

PatientsLikeMe member cbrownstein


5 Comments

  1. Well, this is something that many many thousands have been pushing for at least a Decade.

    +++UPDATE+++

    President George W. Bush signed into law today the first civil rights legislation of the new millennium – the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)! GINA provides protections against genetic discrimination in both the health insurance and employment settings. The health insurance provisions of the law will take effect in 12 months and the employment protections will take effect in 18 months.

    Congratulations to the over 500 members of Congress, hundreds of organizations, and thousands of individuals who stood in support of GINA. Today marks the beginning of a brighter future for all Americans!

    http://www.geneticalliance.org/

  2. Is there something similar in Canada like Gina? My critical illness insurance said it won’t cover me for motor neuron disease because my father has non-familial ALS. I think that is discrimination.

  3. Canada has not passed a law similar to GINA, but genetic information would be protected by federal privacy legislation and some provincial privacy and personal health information statutes. Specific protections may vary from one province or territory to another.

  4. Is Canada planning to get a bill passed similar to US? If so, when? It is hard to believe that in this day and age people are still discriminating against genetics. How would one go about to lobby or advocate for legislation similar to US’s anti discrimination of genetics legislation? Thanks!

  5. Hi my brother has MS as does my sister so I will be recommending this site to them AND my nephew has mets from ?successfully treated esophageal cancer…I do not see a listing that he wouldfit,jeanne

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