Bush signs legislation barring genetic discrimination

Bush signs legislation barring genetic discrimination

[JURIST] US President George W. Bush Wednesday signed into law [remarks transcript] a bill aimed at preventing employers and health insurers from discriminating against people who have a genetic predisposition to disease. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) [HR 493 materials] had passed with overwhelming majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate [JURIST reports]. Under the measure, employers are barred from basing hiring and firing decisions on genetic risk or predisposition to disease, while health insurers would not be permitted to deny coverage based on genetic information. AP has more.

Genetic nondiscrimination legislation was passed unanimously by the Senate in 2003 but failed in the House of Representatives. US Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) [official website] reintroduced the latest bill in January 2007. The law seeks to establish "a national and uniform basic standard … necessary to fully protect the public from discrimination and allay their concerns about the potential for discrimination, thereby allowing individuals to take advantage of genetic testing, technologies, research, and new therapies."