"He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."
Matthew 25:33

Friday, April 25, 2008

GINA: This Too Shall Pass

From the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins' Washington Update:

A lot has changed in Congress since 1995, but the debate over genetic anti-discrimination laws has not. Yesterday, the Senate did its part to put the issue to rest after a long, 13-year journey. The bill has weathered two presidencies and at least four congressional majorities. Despite its history, the Senate made the bill's passage look easy, voting 95-0 in its favor. If the House follows suit, as we expect it will, insurance companies and employers will no longer be able to refuse coverage or raise premiums on individuals or families based on the results of genetic tests. This is especially important as disease detection and prevention technology improves. Although doctors can clinically screen for more than 1,200 diseases, patients have been wary of taking the tests out of fear that it would jeopardize their health insurance. GINA would ensure that Americans can take advantage of this technology without backlash from their coverage providers. During my time in the Louisiana state legislature, I first became aware of this issue. I was informed that insurance companies, using genetic information, were dropping customers after learning that a woman was pregnant with a baby that had Down's syndrome or was otherwise disabled. Unfortunately, this type of discrimination was forcing more mothers to abort because they couldn't shoulder costs of their children's special needs without help from their insurance provider. As a result, I authored and passed one of the first measures of this kind in 1997. Until recently, the federal measure didn't include the protections for unborn or adopted children who test positive for genetic deficiencies. With the support of our friends on the Hill, FRC's Government Affairs team led the effort to make this pro-family clarification part of the final bill. We look forward to similar equity in the House version, which is due for a vote in the next few weeks.

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