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House of Representatives Passes Ban on Genetic Discrimination

Genetic Crossroads
April 30th, 2007

In a vote of 420-3, the US House of Representatives passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) last week. The measure would prohibit health insurers from using genetic information to deny coverage or charge higher premiums to a healthy person, and employers from considering genetic information in hiring, firing, or promotion decisions.

GINA's provisions were first introduced twelve years ago by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the current bill's chief sponsor. Business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have lobbied against such measures, saying that federal law on the issue is not needed because state laws already provide protection against such discrimination. But with Slaughter now part of the House leadership, GINA passed with strong bipartisan support. The bill now goes to the Senate.


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