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Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

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Title: Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act  
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Subject: Council for Responsible Genetics, Genetic predisposition, Equal opportunity
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Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment.
Acronyms (colloquial) GINA
Enacted by the 110th United States Congress
Effective May 21, 2008
Public Law 110-233
Statutes at Large 122 Stat. 881
Acts amended Employee Retirement Income Security Act
Public Health Service Act
Internal Revenue Code of 1986
Social Security Act of 1965
Fair Labor Standards Act
Titles amended 29, 42
U.S.C. sections amended 29 USC §216(e)
29 USC §1132
29 USC §1182
29 USC §1182(b)
29 USC §1191b(d)
42 USC §300gg–1
42 USC §300gg–1(b)
42 USC §300gg–21(b)(2)
42 USC §300gg–22(b)
42 USC §300gg–51 et seq.
42 USC §300gg–61(b)
42 USC §300gg–91
42 USC §300gg–91(d)
42 USC §1395ss
42 USC §1395ss(o)
42 USC §1395ss(s)(2)
Legislative history

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (Pub.L. 110–233, 122 Stat. 881, enacted May 21, 2008, GINA, pronounced Gee-na), is an Act of Congress in the United States designed to prohibit the use of genetic information in health insurance and employment. The Act prohibits group health plans and health insurers from denying coverage to a healthy individual or charging that person higher premiums based solely on a genetic predisposition to developing a disease in the future. The legislation also bars employers from using individuals' genetic information when making hiring, firing, job placement, or promotion decisions.[1] Senator Ted Kennedy called it the "first major new civil rights bill of the new century."[2] The Act contains amendments to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974[3] and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.[4]

In 2008, on April 24 H.R. 493 passed the Senate 95-0. The bill was then sent back to the House of Representatives and passed 414-1 on May 1; the lone dissenter was Congressman [6][7]

Legislative history

In the 104th Congress (1995–1996) several related bills were introduced.[8][9]

In 1997, the Coalition for Genetic Fairness (CGF) was formed by several patient and civil rights groups to spearhead genetic nondiscrimination legislation on Capitol Hill. The CGF became the primary non-governmental driver of Federal genetic non-discrimination legislation.

In 2003, GINA was introduced as H.R. 1910, by Representative Slaughter, D-NY, and as S. 1053 by Senator Snowe, R-ME.

In 2005, it was proposed as H.R. 1227 by Representative Biggert, R-IL, and as S. 306 by Senator Snowe, R-ME.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007 was introduced into the United States House of Representatives as H.R. 493 by Representatives Slaughter, Biggert, Eshoo, and Walden. It passed the House by a 420 - 9 - 3 vote on April 25, 2007.

The same bill was introduced into the United States Senate as S. 358 by Senators Olympia Snowe, Ted Kennedy, Mike Enzi, and Christopher Dodd.[10][11][12][13] On 2008-04-24, the Senate approved the bill 95-0, with five Senators not voting (including presidential candidates McCain, Clinton, and Obama). It had been subject of a "hold" placed by Tom Coburn, M.D., Republican U.S. Senator from Oklahoma.[14]

The bill was then sent back to the House of Representatives and passed 414 - 16 - 1 on May 1, 2008 (the lone dissenter was Congressman Ron Paul). President [6] The text of the final approved version of GINA is here.

Arguments for

Along with an overview of the topic, the NIH National Human Genome Research Institute states that "NHGRI believes that legislation that gives comprehensive protection against all forms of genetic discrimination is necessary to ensure that biomedical research continues to advance. Similarly, it believes that such legislation is necessary so that patients are comfortable availing themselves to genetic diagnostic tests." This point of view thus regards GINA as important for the advancement of personalized medicine.[15]

The Coalition for Genetic Fairness[16] presents some arguments for genetic nondiscrimination. As of 2007, their argument makes the claim that because all humans have genetic anomalies, this would prevent them from accessing medication and health insurance. The Coalition also cites the potential for misuse of genetic information.

The GINA legislation has historically received support from the majority of both Democrats and Republicans, as evidenced by the 420-3 vote in 2007 by the House.

Arguments against

The National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, the Society for Human Resource Management, the United States Chamber of Commerce, and other members of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination in Employment Coalition (GINE) say the proposed legislation is overly broad and are concerned the bills would do little to rectify inconsistent state laws and hence might increase frivolous litigation and/or punitive damages as a result of ambiguous record-keeping and other technical requirements. In addition, they are concerned that it would force employers to offer health plan coverage of all treatments for genetically-related conditions.[17][18]

Insurance industry representatives say that they may need genetic information. Without it, more high-risk people will buy insurance, cause rate unfairness.[19]

While GINA has been cited as a strong step forward, some say that the legislation does not go far enough in enabling personal control over genetic testing results.[20] The law does not cover life, disability, or long-term care insurance, which may cause some reluctance to get tested.[21][22]

See also


  1. ^ Statement of Administration policy, Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, April 27, 2007
  2. ^ "Kennedy in support of genetic information nondiscrimination bill". April 24, 2008. Retrieved May 28, 2008. 
  3. ^ See Act sec. 101.
  4. ^ See Act sec. 103.
  5. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 234". Clerk of the House of Representatives. May 1, 2008. Retrieved October 26, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Keim, Brandon (May 21, 2008). "Genetic Discrimination by Insurers, Employers Becomes a Crime". Retrieved May 28, 2008. 
  7. ^ National Human Genome Research Institute (May 21, 2008). "President Bush Signs the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008". Retrieved Feb 17, 2014. 
  8. ^ Berman JJ, Moore GW, Hutchins GM (1998). "U.S. Senate Bill 422: the Genetic Confidentiality and Nondiscrimination Act of 1997.". Diagn Mol Pathol. 7 (4): 192–6.  
  9. ^ "Genetic Nondiscrimination Federal Legislation Archive". 
  10. ^ Gene act, Wired magazine
  11. ^ Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007, National Human Genome Research Institute, Update as of May 2, 2007
  12. ^ S. 358, (accessed July 28, 2007)
  13. ^ US to outlaw corporate prejudice based on genes, 10:00 06 May 2007, New Scientist Print Edition.
  14. ^
  15. ^ GINA — A big step toward personalized medicine, by David Resnick, Mass Tech High, August 22, 2008.
  16. ^ Coalition for Genetic Fairness
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ Genetic Protections Skimp on Privacy, Says Gene Tester, Wired Science, May 23, 2008
  21. ^ Rob Stein (2012-09-16). "Scientists See Upside And Downside Of Sequencing Their Own Genes". NPR. 
  22. ^ [2]

External links

  • Full text of GINA in its final form from GovTrack
  • National Human Genome Research Institute (NIH)
  • Coalition for Genetic Fairness
  • S. 358, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007
  • S. 976, Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act of 2007
  • Your GINA resource
  • Genetic Alliance
  • Genetic Discrimination Saves Lives - Editorial arguing against the bill.
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