Friday, April 25, 2008

Senate Passes Genetic Discrimination Bill

People learning through genetic testing that they might be susceptible to devastating diseases wouldn't also have to worry about losing their jobs or their health insurance under anti-discrimination legislation the Senate passed Thursday.

The 95-0 Senate vote sends the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

The bill, described by Sen. Edward Kennedy as "the first major new civil rights bill of the new century," would bar health insurance companies from using genetic information to set premiums or determine enrollment eligibility. Similarly, employers could not use genetic information in hiring, firing or promotion decisions.

"For the first time we act to prevent discrimination before it has taken firm hold and that's why this legislation is unique and groundbreaking," said Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who sponsored the Senate bill with Sens. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. back to the House, which could approve it early next week. President Bush supports the legislation.

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