News Releases

Health: Murray Acts to Prevent Discrimination Based on Genetic Information

Apr 24 2008

Murray backs Senate legislation making it illegal to deny insurance or employment based on genetic test results

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, joined the Senate in approving a critical bill to ensure Americans can get the best medical care without fear that they will be discriminated against based on their genetic information.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which was approved by a vote of 95-0, makes it illegal to deny Americans insurance, health care, or employment based on the results of genetic tests for diseases or conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.  The House must now take up the legislation.

“Today we took a strong step forward toward ensuring patients can get critical genetic tests without having to worry that their insurers or employers will use the results against them,” Senator Murray said.  “Every day, scientists are using genetic testing to develop better treatments for some of the most serious diseases.  But for genetic testing to reach its full potential, patients must be confident that the tests can’t be used to discriminate against them.”

Among other key provisions, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act:

  • Prohibits enrollment restriction and premium adjustment on the basis of genetic information or services;
  • Prohibits health plans and insurers from requesting or requiring a patient take a genetic test;
  • Prohibits discrimination in hiring, compensation, and other personnel processes;
  • And prohibits collecting genetic information by employers or other organizations.