Federal Law on Genetic Non-Discrimination Swings Into Effect
A federal law took effect Saturday that prohibits employer discrimination based on genetic information, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (Pub.L. 110-233), signed into law in May 2008, also prohibits health insurers from denying coverage or setting rates based on a person's genetic makeup, such as a predisposition to a disease.
Industry groups oppose the law.
The National Federal of Independent Businesses in April filed several concerns with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which oversees the law.
The group said it was concerned about liability for employers who "innocently discover" genetic information and about a lack of an exception for publicly available genetic information accessible online.
NFIB also said that there is a "confusing" relationship between the new law and other federal statutes.
America's Health Insurance Plans says the regulations will disrupt wellness programs and disease-management efforts.
As of May, there had been no genetics-related employment discrimination cases brought before federal or state courts, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute (Markman, Los Angeles Times, 11/21).
Editorial Supports New Law
The new law "removes a significant obstacle to genetic testing, which can help prevent and treat serious illness," according to a New York Times editorial supporting the new law.The new law "is an important step in protecting people who have inherited a predisposition to disease," the editorial says (New York Times, 11/22). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.