Congress passes bill banning genetic discrimination

In a landmark action, Congress has approved a bill banning genetic discrimination. The bill, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, forbids employers and insurance companies from using genetic tests that demonstrate a risk of conditions such as cancer or heart disease to reject their applications or set premiums. Employers also are barred from using such information to hire, fire or determine who gets promotions. President Bush is expected to sign the bill promptly. While 41 states already have enacted similar laws related to health insurance, and 31 rules regarding genetic discrimination at work, there's never been a federal law on this subject. Researchers are applauding the measure's progress, as they're worried that Americans won't participate in genetic studies unless they're confident the data won't be used against them.

To learn more about the bill:
- read this Associated Press piece

Related Articles:
Genetic discrimination ban gains support
Fearing insurer backlash, patients avoid genetic tests
Genetic testing advances as insurers balk