Senate Passes Genetic Nondiscrimination Bill

After more than a decade of legislative wrangling, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) is well on its way to enactment.  The Senate passed the bill yesterday by a vote of 95-0, and the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill soon.  The President has already stated he will sign it.

Passage of this bill is viewed as critical to realizing the promise of genetic medicine.  The spectre of losing one's job or health insurance because of a genetic test result has led to many at-risk individuals choosing not to take potentially lifesaving tests.

GINA is also important for the future of genetics research.  A 2007 poll from the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins revealed widespread concern among potential participants in genetic research studies that insurers or employers might be able to gain access to their genetic information.  A copy of the poll can be found here.