Danyelle Wright on Genetic Information Discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)

Danyelle Wright on Genetic Information Discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)

“Widely hailed as civil rights legislation for the genetic age, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) protects Americans against discrimination based on their genetic information when it comes to health insurance and employment,” writes Danyelle Wright. “The bill passed the Senate unanimously and the House by a vote of 414 to 1. After being debated in Congress for 13 years, the long-awaited measure will pave the way for people to take full advantage of the promise of personalized medicine without fear of discrimination.”
 
Wright explains that “GINA provides protections against genetic discrimination in both the health insurance and employment settings by prohibiting insurers and employers from ‘requesting or requiring’ genetic testing or using genetic information to determine eligibility for insuring and hiring. Specifically, GINA (1) prohibits medical insurance companies from discriminating against an applicant on the basis of an applicant's genetic information, (2) prohibits medical insurance companies from requesting that applicants for health coverage plans be genetically tested, and (3) prohibits employers from using genetic information to refuse employment, and prohibits them from collecting such data.”
 
In this detailed and informative commentary, the author provides the Congressional findings that accompanied the enactment of GINA and outlines the bill’s history. Wright discusses the contents of GINA and sets forth the proposed regulations of the IRS, DOL, HHS, and EEOC that have been published in the Federal Register. She then provides the reader with an analysis of the real-world impact of GINA and concludes with a discussion on the probable overall impact of GINA, noting that “while imperfect, GINA is an important first-step toward protecting against misuse of the rapidly growing amount of genetic information available.”
 
 
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