Senate Passes Genetic Non-Discrimination Bill
The U.S. Senate has just passed the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2005 (S. 306). The passage of the bill by the Senate (98-0 ) is a very important bipartisan statement. It provides, for the first time, a comprehensive set of protections against discrimination on the basis of genetic information in the issuance of insurance and the setting of premiums and prevents misuse of genetic information in the workplace.
"We are very pleased the Senate has reaffirmed their position that it is critical to have a national standard that outlaws discrimination on the basis of genetic information in employment and health insurance access," said Dr. Peter Byers, president of the American Society of Human Genetics. "We trust that the House of Representatives will pass this legislation promptly."
Beyond individual privacy issues, human genetics researchers rely on voluntary participation in research studies to further their understanding of the functioning of genes in health and disease. Passage of a federal law will eliminate some of the concerns that have deterred individuals and family member from participating in genetic research studies or seeking genetic testing, he added. Federal legislation will assure families that neither employment status nor health care coverage will be adversely affected by their participation in genetic testing.
American Society of Human Genetics (http://www.ashg.org)