January 30, 2007

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, today expressed her support of the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA) before the Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.

“For the potential of genetic technology to be realized, we need to make genetic testing something that is commonplace, rather than something that is feared,” Rep. Slaughter said. “But sadly, ongoing genetic discrimination is making men and women ever less likely to be tested and to participate in clinical trials.”
The bi-partisan House bill is co-sponsored by over 150 members of Congress and makes it illegal for group health plans and health insurers to deny coverage to a healthy individual or charge him or her higher premiums based solely on a genetic predisposition to a specific disease. The legislation also bars employers from using individuals’ genetic information when making hiring, firing, job placement or promotion decisions.