The House has just concurred in Senate amendments to H.R. 493, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act by a vote of 414-1. This landmark bill would prohibit health insurance companies and employers from discriminating against people on the basis of genetic test results. By prohibiting the improper use of genetic information, this bill encourages Americans to undergo testing necessary for early treatment and prevention of genetic-based diseases. House passage today sends this bill to the President's desk for his signature. The House originally passed the bill by a vote of 420 to 3 on April 25, 2007. The Senate passed the bill with relatively minor amendments and clarifications on April 24, 2008 by a vote of 95 to 0. House passage today sends this landmark bill to the President's desk for his signature.
Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY-28): “Last week, Senator Kennedy said on the Senate floor, he noted the mapping of the human genome may well affect the 21st Century as profoundly as the invention of the computer or the splitting of the atom affected the 20th Century. However, Madam Speaker, such discoveries and achievements do not automatically lead to these extraordinary breakthroughs. In order for us to fully reap the benefits, we must ensure that our social policy keeps pace with the advancement of our science. And that is precisely why I rise today in support of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. It has been 13 years in the making, and I’m pleased that the House of Representatives is once again considering the bill today.”
Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-14): “So today what we are doing is eliminating that block, that discrimination that stands in the way of the fullness of the potential of our genetic profile and how it can be not only accumulated but used to the benefit of humanity. That’s what this legislation represents. And when we pass it and the President signs it into law, this legislation will not only end the discrimination and all that attendent to it, but from this day forward, the principles of preventative medicine, the reduction of health care costs, the advancement of research and the saving of lives will be the order of the day.”