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US House passes legislation to bar discrimination based on genetic testing

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives voted 414-1 [roll call] on Thursday to pass the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) [HR 493 materials], a bill aimed at preventing employers and health insurers from discriminating against people who have a genetic predisposition to disease. Under the measure, employers would be barred from basing hiring and firing decisions on genetic risk or predisposition to disease, while health insurers would not be permitted to deny coverage based on genetic information. The US Senate passed [JURIST report] the bill last week. President George W. Bush is expected to sign the bill into law. AP has more.

Genetic nondiscrimination legislation was passed unanimously by the Senate in 2003 but failed in the House of Representatives. US Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) [official website] reintroduced the latest bill in January 2007. If it becomes law, according to the bill's findings, the law will establish "a national and uniform basic standard ... necessary to fully protect the public from discrimination and allay their concerns about the potential for discrimination, thereby allowing individuals to take advantage of genetic testing, technologies, research, and new therapies."


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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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