MICHIGAN: Panel Calls for New Genetic Testing Laws
Gov. John Engler's (R) Commission on Genetic Privacy and Progress last week called on state lawmakers to ban discrimination based on genetic tests. In their 74-page report, the 11-member commission recommended that:
- Neither health insurers nor employers should be allowed to require genetic tests or use them as a barrier to obtaining insurance or employment, although insurers would be allowed to ask patients about their genetic histories;
- Tests "used to predict someone's susceptibility to a genetic disorder shouldn't be given without consent," although doctors would be allowed to inform family members at risk for similar disorders against the patient's will;
- Infants should continue to be screened for treatable diseases "without requirement for consent";
- "The Department of Community Health should run a public education campaign";
- "The Legislature should adopt general medical privacy regulations after the federal government does";
- "The Legislature should define 'genetic testing' and 'genetic information.'"