Members of the House Ways and Means Committee today voted unanimously to approve H.R. 493, a bill that would ban discrimination based on genetic testing.
The bill, which would create the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act of 2007, was introduced in January by Reps. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., and Judy Biggert, R-Ill.
Supporters say the bill would prevent health insurers and care providers from using genetic information or related information to discriminate against patients.
The Ways and Means Committee is just 1 of 3 committees with jurisdiction over the bill.
The House Education and Labor Committee approved the bill earlier this month.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to act on the bill in the near future.
“This legislation is an overdue and important step toward ensuring that our laws governing patient rights are as current as the latest medical technology,” Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, says in a statement about the bill. “It is important for patients to learn more about their genetic history and how it may determine their health, but they should not be afraid that this information will result in a loss of health insurance coverage.”