March 11, 2017

"A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information."

Business Insider: Giving employers such power is now prohibited by legislation including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. by Sharon Begley

'The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a workplace wellness program.

'The bill, HR 1313, was approved by a House committee on Wednesday, with all 22 Republicans supporting it and all 17 Democrats opposed. It has been overshadowed by the debate over the House GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but the genetic testing bill is expected to be folded into a second ACA-related measure containing a grab-bag of provisions that do not affect federal spending, as the main bill does.

'"What this bill would do is completely take away the protections of existing laws," said Jennifer Mathis, director of policy and legal advocacy at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, a civil rights group. In particular, privacy and other protections for genetic and health information in GINA and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act "would be pretty much eviscerated," she said.'

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