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President Bush Signs Genetic Nondiscrimination Act

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-paring-based-on-pairing dept.

Biotech 527

artemis67 writes "This past week, President Bush signed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which would prevent health insurers and employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of their genetic information. GINA is the first and only federal legislation that will provide protections against discrimination based on an individual's genetic information in health insurance coverage and employment settings.'"

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First time Bush has posted something sane. (5, Funny)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546023)

Maybe there's hope for us mutants then.

X

Re:First time Bush has posted something sane. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546133)

Yeah, you niggers will finally get a fair shot at life now.

Re:First time Bush has posted something sane. (1)

CDMA_Demo (841347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546985)

although i don't agree with the tone of your post, i disagree with what you're saying anyway. Do you have stats to prove that minorities pay more for health insurance?

Re:First time Bush has posted something sane. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546245)

Balony. As usual for Bush, this is pure self-interest. He knows that he'd never make the cut.

Re:First time Bush has posted something sane. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546249)

Now we just need another that prevents asshats from doing this [heraldtribune.com] .

Re:First time Bush has posted something sane. (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546783)

The linked article deals with a government body's hiring policies. While I would agree that discriminating against smokers in public sector positions probably isn't a great idea, I have no problem whatsoever with private companies enacting such policies.

Incidentally, I'm a smoker.

Re:First time Bush has posted something sane. (5, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546821)

Actually, I just rethought my position a bit. What is fundamentally wrong with hiring policies that prohibit smoking? Again, I'm a smoker, and I really can't see much wrong with the idea.

You can't compare this to genetic discrimination. People have no say in what genes they're born with, but they most certainly have a say in whether they choose to engage in behaviors that drive up healthcare costs.

Maybe the answer would be to charge higher insurance premiums for such behaviors, maybe it's something else. But it's definitely not on par with genetic discrimination.

You Liberals can thank yourselves for $4/gal. gas (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546537)

Gas refined from ANWR could be flowing into American cars right now if the Democrats weren't in bed with the misanthropes of the Green movement. Blame the Saudis all you want. Just be sure to save some of it for yourselves, too. Already we have ObamaJesus telling us that $4/gallon gas is good for us because it will change our driving habits. What he means by that is that since none of you will be able to afford to drive soon, he won't have to see your ugly mugs at his favorite vacation spots.

Re:You Liberals can thank yourselves for $4/gal. g (3, Insightful)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546775)

"can afford to drive" and "can afford to travel" have nothing to do with each other. Americans have spent fifty years developing the idea that traveling alone is normal. It is not. Get on a damn train or bus, or carpool. 13MPG is pretty awesome if you have 12+ people in the vehicle.

Re:You Liberals can thank yourselves for $4/gal. g (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546837)

Hey asshat, $4/gal is still VERY unreasonable for a person driving a car that gets almost 30mpg who lives in a country with it's own abundant oil supply that liberals won't let us touch. When we're looking up at Russia, India, and China in a decade, don't wonder how it happened.

Re:You Liberals can thank yourselves for $4/gal. g (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546993)

Who's blaming the Saudis?

The #1 country that the US gets its oil from is Canada.The #2 is Mexico, and a distant #3 is Saudi Arabia at 11.5% of the total imported oil. Nigeria and Venezuela are close behind at 10.5% each.

And what does this have anything to do with descrimination based on genetic information?

Did you run around screaming the it was everyones fault but yours when suddenly nobody was making 8-track tapes anymore? Its not the rest of societies responsibility to stay stagnant to justify the purchases you have made.

The world moves on, you didnt. Catch up if you want, but be aware that nobody is going to listen to you screaming that we should all be doing it your old status-quo way instead.

All that said, I still use a car.(shock!) and spend about $200/month in gas on it. I guess you are going to have to decide whats worth more, driving or sitting on your ass paying a cable/satellite provider $75-$100/month. life is full of tough choices. And most of us dont care that you think paying for gas or paying for TV is the toughest choice you have to make.

Get a clue man!

Re:First time Bush has posted something sane. (4, Interesting)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546581)

Maybe. I keep wonderng where the loophole is, and how big it is.

there's still prejudice! (2, Insightful)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#23547087)

This only if you were actually born. There's still extreme prejudice from on high if you're a fetus or stem cell.

Does it ban access? (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546063)

Sure you can legislate that you cant discriminate but if your employer or insurance company has access at all, they can just 'backdoor' you out the door.

( and no i didn't read it, it would be to large to wade thru on a holiday weekend )

Re:Does it ban access? (3, Informative)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546445)

In the linked FA it says neither insurers or employers can request, require or purchase records pertaining to someones genetic makeup.

However, like most DRM schemes, I'm sure a "hack" will be found soon.

What's lame is they don't even need to discontinue insurance based upon genetics. My step-fathers sister in law had her insurance dropped by her company (amongst others). Management told them straight up it was because they weren't "healthy enough." Of course on paper it was for different reasons (cost reductions I believe.).

This is simply more feel good legislation.

Re:Does it ban access? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546945)

In the linked FA it says neither insurers or employers can request, require or purchase records pertaining to someones genetic makeup.

However, like most DRM schemes, I'm sure a "hack" will be found soon.

Spot on. They'll likely just have one of their managers buy it as a personal transaction or under a shell company as "market research", or just do it all under the table and find another pretense to refuse you.

Let's face it -- if nobody in HP did jail time for the pre-texting done on their behalf, companies will find an easy end-run around the spirit of this law.

Insurance companies will not readily accept that they need to cover people for known genetic predispositions. It would undermine their models that tell them who is a risk or not.

Cheers

Re:Does it ban access? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23547033)

Frankly I think the Bill is wrong headed. Obviously any business seeks to hire people who will produce much and cost them little. A potential employee who will have a very short life or even feel the need to quit work to have children is not desirable to an employer.
            The same is true for insurance companies. Although it is my feeling that national health coverage is the only way to go if we allow private insurance then we should allow them to refuse coverage for anyone for any reason. The Logic of the Bill if extended would require a life insurance company to sell insurance to a 99 year old man who already has terminal cancer at the same rate as to a healthy 16 year old. Obviously discrimination is something that every business needs in every trivial action it takes every moment they are in existance.

Dayummmm! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546069)

Damn, Gina!

Waste of legislation. (4, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546071)

Those ATTTACAGATTAC ers deserve to be discriminated against.

Re:Waste of legislation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546673)

i am an ATTTACAGATTACer, you insensitive clod! And quite probably so are you :)

Interesting vote... (5, Interesting)

Bake (2609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546083)

From the article: "Just a few weeks ago, GINA received overwhelming support in both the Senate, with a unanimous vote of approval, and the House of Representatives, where the legislation was passed by a landslide vote of 414-1."

Who was the one who voted against this?

Re:Interesting vote... (1)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546157)

A clone.

Re:Interesting vote... (5, Informative)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546177)

Our good friend Ron Paul, it turns out.

Re:Interesting vote... (5, Funny)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546263)

That's because he thought it was the Genetic Nondiscrimination in America Act, and you know what he got when he searched the web for GNAA ...

Re:Interesting vote... (3, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546269)

Here's the full details of the votes:
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2007-261
The three who voted agaisnt this are: Jeff Flake [R] Edward Royce [R] and Ronald Paul [R]

Re:Interesting vote... (1)

zx-15 (926808) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546809)

Moreover, what's is the point of voting for this non-measure, when there could be government-instituted health protection instead. And if that ever happens this law would become obsolete in that exact moment.

It was the right vote - to be against it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546437)

Life's not fair and when you try to make it that way someone gets screwed. Two wrongs don't make a right.

And for good reasons... (5, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546465)

I'm sure his primary reason is because there is no Consitutional authority for this sort of thing, in general.

But the reason none of them should have supported this is that the result can and will drive up the cost of health care for everyone.

If someone knows they are genetically disposed to malady "x", there is now a law which guarantees that they can get insurance coverage at the same price as someone who is at less risk. What does Congress expect them to do, not take advantage of that fact? If insurance companies can't set pricing based on full knowledge and actuarial statistics, but people can, it will increase costs.

Finally, why shouldn't people at greater risk pay more? Discrimination is not necessarily a bad thing. People discriminate all the time - employers discriminate by choosing more skilled workers over less skilled ones, consumers tend to discriminate against higher priced retailers, the President discriminates against the proles by shutting down traffic as his motocade makes it's way though a city. (Well, maybe that last one is bad discrimination).

In fact, this law discriminates against those who are at less risk for genetically identifiable diseases, by forcing them to pay higher insurance rates than they otherwise would.

Re:And for good reasons... (5, Insightful)

Aaron_Pike (528044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546545)

Isn't the whole point of insurance to spread the risk evenly? Wouldn't paying more if you're more at risk defeat the purpose of insurance in the first place?

Re:And for good reasons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546577)

The point of Social Security is to spread risk evenly. The point of insurance is to protect against a potential loss that you can not risk happening.

Re:And for good reasons... (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546711)

All insurance systems are basically spreading out risk. When my house catches fire, the insurance company pays me out of the pile of money they've collected from everyone who's got insurance.

Social security just spreads the "risk" of living longer than you expected.

Re:And for good reasons... (1)

pesho (843750) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546737)

And the way you

protect against a potential loss that you can not risk happening
is by spreading the risk. You seem to miss the important details.

Re:And for good reasons... (1)

tygt (792974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546709)

I don't think so. You get insurance to pay ahead of time to cover the chance that something bad will happen. Group insurance does work to help spread the cost over a group, but insurance in general isn't a group concept.

This is like telling the insurance companies that they can't know if you like to smoke a cigar every once in a while - something that will increase their risk of having to pay out somewhat, though not a guaranteed payout requirement.

No.. (3, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546913)

the point of insurance is to share equal risk (to the extent that risks can be known). When some class of participant is allowed to tilt the odds in their favor, others lose.

Re:And for good reasons... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23547021)

The point of insurance is not to spread risk. The point of insurance is to mitigate the consequences of negative outcomes for the insured. Having car insurance doesn't spread the risk of having a car accident out among the insured, it mitigates the consequences for people who do have crashes.

Spreading risk by limiting decision making information is medical cost sharing (because the risk is not evenly distributed to begin with, when you limit information, you spread the cost to people who are not at risk).

Re:And for good reasons... (3, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546619)

But the reason none of them should have supported this is that the result can and will drive up the cost of health care for everyone.

How does it change the status quo? Insurers have been working on the basis of averages without genetic information for a very long time. There are factors driving up the cost of healthcare, but a lack of access to genetic information doesn't seem to be a major one.

Re:And for good reasons... (3, Interesting)

SlayerofGods (682938) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546729)

Well they've been using family history for a while; which is basic an easy way to get someone's genetic profile......
I wonder how that will fare under the law.

What has changed... (2, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546967)

is that individuals now have reasonably priced genetic tests available to them, which they can take advantage of to tilt the odds. Insurers will now have to assume that anyone who purchases insurance for a disease for which genetic tests can show an increased risk, is in fact at increased risk of that disease. This unjustly discriminates against those at low risk for that disease, by forcing them to subsidize those at increased risk. Worst case, the coverage simply becomes unavailable, so no one benefits.

Re:And for good reasons... (5, Insightful)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546695)

That's the most fucked up reasoning written on slashdot in a long time. How is someone able to take advantage of being more likely to carry a genetic disease? Why should someone born with a genetic disorder have pay premium for something that is absolutely out of their control?

Being able to aquire medical care when in need is a basic human right. If you don't like that fact, then there are plenty of third world countries you can ove to where the evil state won't "steal" your money to provide health care for the sick.

Re:And for good reasons... (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546907)

How is someone able to take advantage of being more likely to carry a genetic disease?
Let's say someone gets a genetic test saying there is a 99% chance they will get some disease in the next five years. Lets say the cost of top notch health care for this disease will cost $10 million over the life of the patient. The patient can then go and get coverage for this disease for some absurdly small amount compared to the cost of treatment. The insurance company is able to sell this coverage so cheaply because most people don't get the disease. If the only people that purchase coverage are now the same people that get it, the cost will skyrocket (or, more likely, coverage for this disease will not exist).

Being able to aquire medical care when in need is a basic human right.
No it's not. How could something that's only been around for a few centuries be called a "basic human right"? Is Internet access also a "basic human right"?

Re:And for good reasons... (2, Interesting)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23547041)

For you to be able to claim that health insurance is a fundamental right as a human being, you must also claim that the right to property is not a fundamental right. Is this what you're claiming?

Re:And for good reasons... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23547059)

Lets stop calling it insurance then.

Of course, you didn't answer the question of why someone born without a genetic disorder have to pay for something that is absolutely out of their control (i.e., other people's genetics).

I don't have a problem with you wanting universal health care, but information limiting insurance companies is not the way to do it.

Re:And for good reasons... (5, Insightful)

pesho (843750) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546715)

Your argument puts the idea of the insurance on its head and thus makes no sense. If you are concerned about discrimination against healthy people, you should argue for dismantling the health insurance system altogether. This way everybody would pay the exact cost of the healthcare services they use. Besides there is a very good scientific reason not to descriminate. We can't conclude defenitevly that a particular mutation is 'bad'. For example mutations causing betha-thalassemia are protective against malaria. Having genetic diversity is more beneficial for the population as a whole, than having what someone would percieve as 'healthy' genes.

Re:And for good reasons... (0, Troll)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546819)

So we are back to the good old monarchy of health insurance?? Is it back to the "who's crotch did the doctor pull you out of" with a modern twist, eh?

It is kind of moronic for people that preach that every individual has a right to live the same life. That abortions are immoral, yet the same type of right-wing will be pro-military and even pro genetic discrimination.

Either allow or even force genetic selection at embryonic stage and screen out diseases there, or don't bitch about people that get screwed over by genetic diseases. Sadly, it is generally the ignorant regarding their own genetic susceptibilities to diseases that would oppose non-discrimination bills. We all know that a lot of cancers run in families,

    * breast cancer
    * colon cancer
    * stomach cancer

so, why not require these people die so we can pay "cheaper" insurance costs, right?

This is *exactly* why having private heath insurance for core care does NOT work. It puts capitalism back into something you can't change. It creates a cast system..

Health based on your genes is not something you can change, much. Charging different price based on people's *behaviour* and *habits* (smoking, drinking, drug usage, etc.) is one thing. Treating someone better or worse because of their genes - welcome to Gattaca.

How is genetic discrimination any different from discriminating on basis of just skin color? It is not.

Re:And for good reasons... (1)

weston (16146) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546891)

If insurance companies can't set pricing based on full knowledge and actuarial statistics, but people can, it will increase costs.

Because this would *totally* throw off the existing delicate balance of information symmetry that currently exists between insurance companies and consumers, right?

Finally, why shouldn't people at greater risk pay more? Discrimination is not necessarily a bad thing.

The more efficient discrimination becomes, the less what we're talking about here is actually insurance anymore.

But the reason none of them should have supported this is that the result can and will drive up the cost of health care for everyone.

Up? The health issues that genetics can predict *already exist* in the population -- the risks the insurance pool has taken on are already funded, now, no genetic testing involved. The only way this would drive costs up is if there's some significant population of people who, sans testing, would otherwise go uninsured, but when tested, will choose to be insured. That's a highly dubious thesis -- I strongly suspect that most people who can afford insurance purchase it -- but if you have reasonable evidence, I'm interested.

Why this is not the answer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23547091)

Finally, why shouldn't people at greater risk pay more? Discrimination is not necessarily a bad thing. People discriminate all the time - employers discriminate by choosing more skilled workers over less skilled ones, consumers tend to discriminate against higher priced retailers, the President discriminates against the proles by shutting down traffic as his motocade makes it's way though a city. (Well, maybe that last one is bad discrimination).

In fact, this law discriminates against those who are at less risk for genetically identifiable diseases, by forcing them to pay higher insurance rates than they otherwise would.
The issue is that people do not understand what discrimination is. Discrimination is choosing one over another. No matter what someone will be discriminated against.

In this case the government is deciding that we need to spread the load equally and hurt/discriminate against the average person because there are some who are in a worse position.

The rational for this is "how would you feel if it was you" or "It is not their fault." The problem with this logic is that you are deciding how an entity (the insurance, employer, ect) can interact with another entity (the poor person with defect ATTTACAGATTAC who the person from post 3 hates :-D ) Most people do not understand that if you give the government the ability to force private entities (this can be a person, small biz, or Exxon sized company) to work with each other or work under different conditions you are giving up your freedoms.

Believe it or not, insurance companies are not there to help. They are there to provide a service in the free market. People have to stop thinking about them as something that should help people but doesn't. The insurance company should not be forced to pay for people who have more of a chance of getting sick. That raises the prices for everyone else.

If you still believe that these people should be helped (I do). Donate money to charities that are going to arise that help people with genetic problems (I know this is in the future). The point of this post is not to make you no longer care about them, or not even stop you from trying to help. The idea is to tell you that you are looking in the wrong place for the answers.

Ron Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546183)

He's usually the lone vote in these things.

Re:Interesting vote... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546199)

vote of 414-1."
Who was the one who voted against this?
Lionel Hutz

Re:Interesting vote... (1)

michaelpb (935524) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546207)

It looks like the the GOP's own Ron Paul was the only one to vote against it, according to this article [usnews.com] .

Re:Interesting vote... (2)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546927)

I know this is going to get modded -1 in about 30 seconds, and really anger people, but this bill seems like one of those "Let's make ourselves look good" bills more than anything else. I think the guy voting against it may have been in the right.

If my dad was a drunk, can I drink at work or right before work and claim it's in my genes? Technically they can't discriminate against me in that case.

What about smoking? If I claim the genes for addiction run in my family, and that's why I smoke 3 packs a day, should I still get the same insurance rates as nonsmokers?

Because of this law, fewer people will be able to afford insurance. Normally high risk people get higher rates. Since the insurance companies can't do that in these cases, they're going to raise rates for everybody instead. So in 5 years the same people who voted for this bill are going to claim the system is broken because there's so many people without insurance. Guess why? It's because they keep breaking the system with bills like this one.

It's unfair that some people are genetically programmed to get certain diseases. That sucks. But life isn't fair. Why should the rest of us have to pay for other people's bad luck?

typical (-1, Offtopic)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546085)

This is so typical: Bush is only looking out for his own best interests and the best interests of his cronies.

He just doesn't give a damn about the public's compelling interest to be protected from genetic outliers like him in positions like the commander in chief.

Woof! (0, Troll)

Cillian (1003268) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546089)

So, my dog can now apply for a job? I mean, surely, she cannot be refused the job on account of being a dog, as that would be discrimination against her because of a particular genetic attribute (I.e. being a dog). Well, I know this probably isn't how it works, but it's a nice thought.

Re:Woof! (1, Troll)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546165)

Yes, I think your dog could apply for a job. After all, the American electorate didn't discriminate against someone with the same genetic makeup as a chimpanzee when electing Bush, so what's the difference? ;-)

Re:Woof! (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546345)

If your dog can fill in the application form and pass the application interview, we'll be glad to hire her.

Re:Woof! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23547069)

Hey, the pooch is probably smarter than most niggers!

- RP.

Dr Lamar (0, Offtopic)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546095)

...I still haven't told you about my son have I. He's a big fan of yours... ...unfortunately my son's not all that they promised. But then again, who knows what he could do.
For future reference, right handed men don't hold it with their left. Just one of those things.
You're gonna miss your flight Vincent,... (queue music, begin sobbing)

Re:Dr Lamar (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546447)

Just to be a dick:

Vincent: What's this?
Dr. Lamar: New Policy, what's the matter? Flight got you nervous.
Vincent: Nope, there's a problem Lamar...
Dr. Lamar: ...I still haven't told you about my son have I. He's a big fan of yours...
Vincent: Just remember. I was as good as any, and better than most...
Dr. Lamar: ...He wants to apply here...
Vincent: ...I could've gone up and back and nobody would've been the wiser...
Dr. Lamar: ...unfortunately my son's not all that they promised. But then again, who knows what he could do.
[test reveals Vincent as invalid]
Dr. Lamar: For future reference, right handed men don't hold it with their left. Just one of those things.
[Lamar hits button revealing Jerome's valid i.d]
Vincent: [Vincent stares into Lamar eyes, hesitating]
Dr. Lamar: You're gonna miss your flight Vincent.

Re:Dr Lamar (2, Informative)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546617)

'For future reference, right handed men don't hold it with their left. Just one of those things.'

He's wrong.

Re:Dr Lamar (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23547081)

Your movie would be a lot less satisfying than Gattica.

The Devil's In The Details (5, Insightful)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546117)

I tend to look on such legislation as likely to have the reverse effect to the one stated, because it is frequently written to provide cover, loopholes and exceptions for the powerful, well-connected industries it is supposed to govern.

And even with the best of intentions, it often has the effect of limiting an individual's rights to whatever is covered at the time, regardless of scientific and technological advances that can render such rights and protections woefully obsolete.

Re:The Devil's In The Details (2, Insightful)

kaltkalt (620110) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546187)

Exactly! Most people simply can't get beyond the happy-sounding name (which usually involves "Children/s") of the bill (which is why they do that). Who could possibly be against something called the PATRIOT Act? Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act? That sounds good! Digital Millennium Copyright Act? Sounds good, a new copyright act for a new digital millennium! Yay! If this law didn't help insurance companies at the expense of the insured, Bush would veto the fuck out of it.

Re:The Devil's In The Details (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546267)

Why don't you take off you tinfoil cap and read it before you assume it is an industrialist plot. Geez.

Re:The Devil's In The Details (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546371)

Here's one potential devil detail.

Now that legally insurer's can't discriminate against you, there's no reason for you not to supply your DNA details to doctors and the like. And that makes it a bit easier for the government to illegally obtain those DNA details for their own big brother activities. Which then can potentially be hacked or stolen as some temp guy leaves it in his car one weekend. Then your DNA is for sale! And purchased privately by the insurance companies who then discriminate without officially asking you for your DNA!

Re:The Devil's In The Details (2, Insightful)

no-body (127863) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546513)

In essence, it's hogwash!

If you apply for insurance and on the phone the rep tells you that you can't have insurance because they are not taking applications right now from your zip code area/state (or some other "good" reason) when he sees information on a screen about you not to be insuarable - are you having any leverage to sue because of DNA discrimination, not even to talk about financial resources?

The US health insurance system is totally hosed. It is based on profit maximazing of individual insurance companies and not broad risk distribution as in other countries. If an insurance company finds a means to increase profit, they will do so - fat chance that this will change anytime soon as long as the polititians sell their soul for money to get elected and stay in "power".

What were they thinking? (3, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546145)

Gina? Please tell me it isn't administered by the VA...

About Time (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546219)

As much as I hate the current situation in which the insurance industry has had far too much power over healthcare, this legislation was absolutely necessary for our society to continue to function in anything like a normal way as genetic information becomes more commonplace.

As for loopholes, we the public must start an intolerable outcry the moment we hear of any such pending. This needs to be an across-the-board absolute, not a political game.

Re:About Time (1)

MoHaG (1002926) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546433)

Cool, so I no longer need to give my family's medical history...

Surely discrimination based on hereditary medical conditions such as heart disease is genetic discrimination? Even though not directly?

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546645)

I would expect that would be the case - yes.

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546521)

As much as I hate the current situation in which the insurance industry has had far too much power over healthcare, this legislation was absolutely necessary for our society to continue to function in anything like a normal way as genetic information becomes more commonplace.

Huh? I don't get it, your two clauses aren't contradictory, why did you start the sentence with "As much as I hate"?

Jame Watson has 32 "dangerous" genes (4, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546321)

An article in Nature (proprietry web) [nature.com] a month ago analyzed the genetic content of James Watson, the co-discoverer of the genetic code, and the 2nd of four known people to have their genomes fully sequenced. Dr. Watson had three thousand observed mutations of which 32 were in the database of genetic diseases. This included Retinitis Pigmentosa, kidney failure and other potentially devasting diseases. However, it is not known why they were not expressed in his case. This is all the more reason to keep insurance companies from canceling insurances to those who might have any sort of genetic defect.

P.S. No, they did not discover the gene for making stupid racist remarks, which forced Dr. Watson into retirement last year.

Re:Jame Watson has 32 "dangerous" genes (2, Funny)

ChuckSchwab (813568) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546509)

No, they did not discover the gene for making stupid racist remarks,
As someone who happens to possess that gene, through no fault of my own, let me just say that I'm glad at what Bush is doing to keep those Jew-owned insurance companies from discriminating against me.

Re:Jame Watson has 32 "dangerous" genes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546587)

"P.S. No, they did not discover the gene for making stupid racist remarks, which forced Dr. Watson into retirement last year."

You asshat. How politically correct of you. The "racist" remarks didn't "force" Dr.Watson into retirement - the JEW-OWNED establishment did.

What part of Dr.Watson's remarks was UNTRUE? Oh yeah... NONE of them.
Strange that, isn't it. The JEW owned media wringed its hands about how 'racist' this man was, for merely telling the TRUTH about how crap black people are.

Care to show me any evidence to the contrary? Does it make you feel powerful when you say "racist", traitor?

How many blacks did you see in NASA's Mission Control today? ZERO. I wonder why that would be...

"Racist" "Racist" "Racist"... etc.etc.etc.

Asshole.
Move to Haiti since you love living around backwards, third world savages so much...

Re:Jame Watson has 32 "dangerous" genes (1)

naasking (94116) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546609)

I think genetic profiling is a valid route for insurance companies. The problem is one of timing: we still don't know enough about when and how these genetic predispositions actually manifest, so it's a bit too early to be basing decisions on predispositions. Eventually, it could prove to be a good indicator, in conjunction with one's lifestyle choices. Just not yet.

Re:Jame Watson has 32 "dangerous" genes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546915)

he is the co-discoverer of dna structure, not the genetic code. the genetic code was elucidated by several lesser-known scientists: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_code#Cracking_the_genetic_code

Research *does* need regulation (4, Interesting)

gihan_ripper (785510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546329)

It's an unusual sentiment for me, but I must applaud President Bush for being foresighted enough to pass this legislation.

I recently attended a futorological lecture at Oxford University on the possibility of genetically engineered 'persons' (not necessary human persons). The lecture was given by Nobel prize-winner John Sulston (an important figure in the human-genome project), John Harris (a bioethics expert), and was hosted by Richard Dawkins. The panel was very much in favour of continued research into genetic modification of humans, but placed a strong emphasis on the need for legislation to prevent powerful cliques from monopolising or abusing the technology.

One important point they made is that (just about) any technology can be used to give an overwhelming opportunity to those who are free to enjoy it, but that the norms of modern Western societies ensure that most people have the potential to take advantage of the majority of science's blessings. However, we can't simply trust large corporations or other powerful institutions to equitably distribute the advantages of these technologies. Regulation is needed, and Bush is providing a good first step.

So, in summary, we must continue to research and to pursue all avenues of research, but the applications of the research need to be very carefully thought through.

Re:Research *does* need regulation (5, Interesting)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546873)

"I must applaud President Bush for being foresighted enough to pass this legislation"

Personally I would hold the applause until you actually read the act. 99 times out of a 100 the bill name means nothing about the content.

Having a quick look at thomas.loc.gov it looks like the bill is [H.R.493]. Reading some bits...

While you can't discriminate based on genetic material the section 210 states that if the information is found by any other means it is permissible (even if it is a genetic related issue). So this for the most part will have no effect on Medical Insurance companies.

For example if one of my parents suffered from a genetic disease then they could discriminate against me based on that information and not on actually checking if I have the genetic markers or not.

Section 103 seems to mention that if a health company came by your genetic information via another source (3rd party) then it is permissible to use it.

Also there is mention of Genetic testing IS NOT..

"an analysis of proteins or metabolites that is directly related to a manifested disease, disorder, or pathological condition that could reasonably be detected by a health care professional with appropriate training and expertise in the field of medicine involved."

So, IANAL or biologist but even casual reading there appears to be loads of outs for private medical companies.

Of Course he had to sign it (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546333)

Otherwise they'd have found more simian DNA than Human, and he'd be fired!

va (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546373)

GINA... heh heh heh.

Obvious joke (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546375)

We all knew that Bush and GINA go together pretty plainly!

Get it? GINA as in vagina!

Re:Obvious joke (1)

Leptok (1096623) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546675)

God help us if there was any section in there dealing with Virginia. Can't wait for the VA GINA.

Re:Obvious joke (1)

EsJay (879629) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546879)

We try to maintain decorum in my household, so we only mention Pennsylvania's euphemistic PA GINA.

This is fine and all... (4, Insightful)

hyperz69 (1226464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546385)

We need protection though from other forms of medical discrimination. Banning the Archaic BMI would be a good start. Limiting pre-existing conditions. Its amazing the things that will still get you disqualified. A yeast infection and even too many pimples as a kid... More needs to be done. I will take this small victory though.

Re:This is fine and all... (1)

EsJay (879629) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546597)

Honest question: Is there discrimination based on BMI?

As for pre-existing conditions, a single national risk pool (AKA universal national health care) would solve that.

Re:This is fine and all... (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546817)

Honest question: Is there discrimination based on BMI?
It seems so. BMI is only good for someone totally average, because it doesn't take the actual fat or muscle content of one's body into account; it's just a ratio of height to weight. So you can be 'overweight' according to your BMI if you're of a muscular build, for example. If I recall correctly, someone recently posted a comment detailing this exact situation befouling them.

Re:This is fine and all... (1)

EsJay (879629) | more than 6 years ago | (#23547055)

I understand the limitations of BMI. My spectacular mesomorphic, ripped and rippling 200 lb physique puts me solidly in the mid-range of "overweight" :-)

But do insurers use it in their actuarial tables?

Funny insurance story - I moved 200 feet last year, from one zip code to another. My auto insurance dropped 25%.

Re:This is fine and all... (2, Insightful)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546777)

Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but are you saying you think there shouldn't be limitations on pre-existing conditions?

Not that I support the state of the insurance industry, or even anything close to it, but if all the people with severe problems could be guaranteed acceptance for medical insurance it would bankrupt the entire industry. No more health insurance for anyone.

This is a statement coming from someone who would benefit an extraordinary amount from a lack of such limitations, and I still think it's an atrocious idea.

Personally, I'd like to see states require that insurers of any kind operate as NFPs.

I have a dream... (1)

tingeber (1129619) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546409)

So this legislation is supposed to deliver a non-discriminating society, where the privacy of our genetic information is sacred?

Color me cynical.

Re:I have a dream... (1)

EsJay (879629) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546627)

Yes, it's designed to reduce discrimination.

No, I don't think it protects privacy, you can read the legislation to determine that.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546517)

Of course, it's illegal to discriminate, 'genoism' it's called. But no one takes the law seriously. If you refuse to disclose, they can always take a sample from a door handle or a handshake, even the saliva on your application form. If in doubt, a legal drug test can just as easily become an illegal peek at your future in the company.

Will This Work (1)

ChrisBader (1232968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546599)

Even after we made racial discrimination illegal it still went on, it is even debatable that it still goes on today with certain employers. If there is even the slightest chance that Health Insurance, future employers or everyday people can get a hold of it they will discriminate because people can't always suppress initial feelings of the things that we learn.

Re:Will This Work (1)

EsJay (879629) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546769)

Of course it goes on. But most try to follow the law, so it is reduced, and the law gives you recourse if they don't.

Not perfect, but when you find a perfect gov't, let me know, I may move there.

judge me not but the state of my genes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546641)

but by the girth of my wallet.

seriously, the only people who must be discriminated against are the poor. be sure to vote republican!!!

What about Life Insurance? (2, Interesting)

Zen (8377) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546697)

The article specifically states that the bill covers health insurance and employers. Most large employers just dump new employees onto their group policy and pre-existing conditions may or may not matter. So this sounds like it's geared towards the self insured and small employers who have to be choosy due to premiums.

But what about life insurance? If I'm a perfectly normal (seemingly healthy) person who has never been diagnosed with anything, and then I apply for life insurance and they find something in my blood, does this protect me against them not insuring me? Health Insurance is a big ticket item for an election year, but since I already have health insurance and am unlikely to ever not have a group policy I'm much more interested in banning life insurance companies from performing genetic discrimination.

Re:What about Life Insurance? (1)

EsJay (879629) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546829)

I changed jobs twice in the past year. One thing that seemed odd (but beneficial) to me was that signing up for insurance in the first 90 days pretty much grandfathered me into the system, pre-existing conditions and all.

After 90 days, I would have to provide a note from the doctor to prove I wasn't a crippled, disease-ridden, syphilitic bag of impending medical bills.

In Celebrating This Legislation, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23546723)



Your first premise is WRONG. The legislative AND jidical branches of the federal government have been merged into the executive branch.

I thought you might be interested in your flawed reasonging.

Cordially,
K. Trout

Bush doesn't matter... (1)

VernoWhitney (514284) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546743)

Has anyone actually praising Bush for passing this stopped to think about the fact that it had enough support from Congress that it would've been pushed through even if he had vetoed it? So all he would have accomplished is delaying the inevitable and burning through what little public goodwill he has left.

One step closer to equal rights... (1)

spydabyte (1032538) | more than 6 years ago | (#23546855)

But consider the implications of this base of legislation as leverage against homosexual discrimination. Once research "proves" homosexuality is genetic, will it be illegal to discriminate against them? I know this article is all about insurance companies, but on what basis does our government stand by telling someone else (in our own country) not to discriminate while they get away with it. And yes our government does that all the time, but we can dream...

very ambiguous... (1)

whopub (1100981) | more than 6 years ago | (#23547009)

The Very Ambiguous Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act...

let the discrimination begin (2, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#23547065)

Now that discrimination is illegal on the books, one cannot use privacy concerns as a legitimate reason for withholding this information. It will now be demanded under all kinds of security concerns. In the end it will be used for the purposes of discrimination in the wink-wink-nudge-nudge manner. But hey, the Civil Rights Act ended racism, right? It didn't prolong it by another 50 years by drawing a legal distinction between races. This belief that the government can force egalitarianism is how the West is choosing fall. Oh, well. Life will go on. We are not equal other than in the eyes of the creator (if you believe in such a thing). We certainly are not equal in the eyes of the fellow human beings with whom we associate. To create a law that pretends that an untruth is true is to make all laws absurd. It undermines and thus destroys the legal system. But hey, the right-hemisphere-people rejoice. I fail to see why slashdot should join them.
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