WASHINGTON–The House overwhelmingly passed legislation Wednesday that bars discrimination in insuring people based on genetic testing.
The House bill, H.R. 493, has the support of America’s Health Insurance Plans, which sent letters urging passage to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio.
Similar legislation has also passed the Senate. The next step for the legislation is a conference to reconcile the differing House-Senate bills. The House bill also has Bush Administration support.
The House bill passed 420-3. Its insurance provisions bar health insurance plans from adjusting premium or contribution amounts because of genetic information and creates new confidentiality rules for such information.
According to one analysis, the bill would not prevent health insurance plans from obtaining the results of genetic tests for payment purposes or to work with providers to determine the best course of treatment for a patient.
It also clarifies that manifested diseases are not included in the definition of “genetic information”–meaning that diseases that are already active in a patient are not covered by the bill’s prohibition against using genetic information for underwriting.