Ways and Means Approves Genetic Non-Discrimination Bill

Mar 21, 2007
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Committee on Ways and Means today unanimously amended and approved H.R. 493, the Genetic Non-discrimination Act of 2007.  This bipartisan legislation would protect patients against discrimination by health insurance providers and employers based on their genetic makeup or predisposition to disease or chronic condition.  H.R. 493 will now be considered by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce before a vote by the full House of Representatives. 

“This legislation is an overdue and important step toward ensuring that our laws governing patient rights are as current as the latest medical technology,” said Chairman Rangel.  “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.”

The Chairman’s mark incorporated the following changes to H.R. 493:

  • Provides for enforcement in the tax code against health plans found in violation, giving laws prohibiting genetic discrimination equal footing with other federal insurance laws.
  • Protects adopted children and children in placement for adoption, seniors who purchase Medigap policies and people who participate in clinical research.
  • Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conform our nation’s privacy laws governing health insurance to the provisions in this bill.