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Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) is designed to prohibit the improper use of genetic information in health insurance and employment. Supported by the President of the United States, the legislation would prohibit group health plans and health insurers from denying coverage to a healthy individual or charging that person higher premiums based solely on a genetic predisposition to developing a disease in the future. The legislation also would bar employers from using individuals’ genetic information when making hiring, firing, job placement, or promotion decisions. [1]

The Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act of 2007 was introduced into the United States House of Representatives as H.R. 493 by Representatives Slaughter, Biggert, Eshoo, and Walden, where it passed by a 420 to 3 vote on 25 April 2007, and into the United States Senate, where it is also expected to be endorsed.[2], as S. 358 by Senators Olympia Snowe, Ted Kennedy, Mike Enzi, and Christopher Dodd. [3][4][5]. On July 24, 2007, however, the Senate was to have taken up debate on the bill but has not as of August 15, 2007 [5] because of a "hold" placed by Tom Coburn, M.D., Republican U.S. Senator from Oklahoma[6]


History of GINA

In the 104th Congress, 1995-6, several related bills were introduced [7] [8].

  • The Genetic Privacy and Nondiscrimination Act of 1995, S. 1416: Sen. Mark Hatfield and H.R. 2690: Rep. Clifford Stearns
  • The Genetic Fairness Act of 1996, S. 1600: Sen. Dianne Feinstein
  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination in Health Insurance Act of 1995, H.R. 2748: Rep. Louise Slaughter and S. 1694: Sen. Olympia Snowe
  • Genetic Confidentiality and Nondiscrimination Act of 1996, S. 1898: Sen. Pete Domenici

In 2003 GINA was introduced as H.R. 1910, by Representative Slaughter, D-NY] and as S.1053 {{{3}}} by Senator Snowe, R-ME.

In 2005 it was proposed as 109 H.R. by Representative Biggert, R-IL and as S. 306 by Senator Snowe, R-ME.

Arguments in favor of GINA

The Coalition for Genetic Fairness[9] presents some arguments for genetic nondiscrimination. As of 2007, their argument makes the claim that because all humans have genetic anomalies, this would prevent them from accessing medication and health insurance. However, it should be noted that this rests on the concept of insurance companies employing genetic tests to find any and all anomalies, technology not yet accomplished nor desired as it would eliminate all possible applicants for their services.

Perhaps the stronger of the arguments is that of the potential for genetic information misuse, a silent citation to personal access to one's genome.

Arguments against GINA

The National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, the Society for Human Resource Management, and US Chamber of Commerce and other members of the Genetic Information NonDiscrimination in Employment Coalition, (GINE) say the proposed legislation is overly broad and are concerned the bills, would do little to rectify inconsistent state laws and hence might increase frivolous litigation and/or punitive damages as a result of ambiguous record-keeping and other technical requirements. In addition, they are concerned that it would force employers to offer health plan coverage of all treatments for genetically-related conditions.[10][11]

According to the Boston Globe, Senator Tom Coburn, has blocked passage of the GINA, objecting to provisions in the bill that allow discrimination based on genetic information from embryos and fetuses. Recently, the Boston Globe stated that the embryo loophole has been closed, and that Tom Coburn is reevaluating his opposition to the bill.[12]. Senator Coburn has placed 86 "holds" on other bills and has voted in favor of an earlier version of GINA when it passed unanimously in the Senate in 2005.

See also

  • Genoism
  • Employment Non-Discrimination Act


  1. ^ Statement of Administration policy, Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, 27 April 2007
  2. ^ US to outlaw corporate prejudice based on genes, 10:00 06 May 2007, New Scientist Print Edition.
  3. ^ Gene act, Wired magazine
  4. ^ Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007, National Human Genome Research Institute, Update as of May 2, 2007
  5. ^ a b S. 358, (accessed July 28 2007)
  6. ^
  7. ^ Berman JJ, Moore GW, Hutchins GM (1998). "U.S. Senate Bill 422: the Genetic Confidentiality and Nondiscrimination Act of 1997.". Diagn Mol Pathol. 7: 192-6. PMID 9917128.
  8. ^ "Genetic Nondiscrimination Federal Legislation Archive".
  9. ^ ]
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Boston Globe: Tom Coburn's position on the Genetic Discrimination Bill

External links

  • Coalition for Genetic Fairness
  • S. 3822, Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act of 2006
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Genetic_Information_Nondiscrimination_Act". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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