President Bush today signed a bill supported by the insurance industry that will bar employers and health insurers from discriminating against individuals based on the results of genetic tests.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, H.R. 493, was passed by overwhelming majorities by both the House and the Senate.
The bill “protects our citizens from having genetic information misused, and this bill does so without undermining the basic premise of the insurance industry,” Bush said at a signing ceremony.
Bush also praised Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., one of the champions of the GINA bill over the past decade, who has been diagnosed as having a brain tumor.
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The bill ran into a roadblock in the Senate when Sen. Thomas Coburn, R-Okla., blocked debate of the bill on the Senate floor because of concerns that it could expose employers to litigation over medical coverage disputes.
Supporters eased those concerns, and cleared the road for passage, by adding a “firewall” between the portions of the bill relating to employers and the portions relating to governing insurers.