Government News
Bill to Outlaw Genetic Discrimination Hits Roadblock in Congress
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 11 page 8-8

Despite having 237 cosponsors in April and the unanimous approval of the Senate last year, the companion bill to the Genetic Nondiscrimination Act of 2003 has stalled in the House of Representatives.

APA and other advocates joined together in urging the House to hold hearings on HR 1910, according to an APA press release. (The Senate version is S 1053.)

"Congress must protect Americans from those insurers and employers who would discriminate against a person because of his or her genetic makeup or family history," said APA Medical Director James H. Scully Jr., M.D., in a statement released to the media.

Scully continued, "Genetic testing offers tremendous promise in identifying existing and potential health concerns, so it is vital that we have a strong, enforceable genetic privacy law on the books."

He mentioned a report by the U.S. Department of Labor documenting that 63 percent of Americans surveyed said they would refuse to take genetic tests if insurers or employers could access their private results.

Scully added, "A person's genetic information should be used only with his or her informed consent. Protecting patients' genetic information is critical to providing the highest-quality medical care."

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