Healthcare

The Ultimate Pre-Existing Condition

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

While congressional Republicans debate just how many millions of people they want to kick off their healthcare, House Republicans are also advancing legislation that would roll back regulations on genetic privacy.

Republicans intend to end regulations established by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) that prohibit businesses from using genetics against their employees.

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.

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

House Republicans reportedly plan to attach this legislation to a supplemental bill that would be passed after they repeal Obamacare so the best chance to stop it may be to kill repeal.

Unlike their plan to repeal Obamacare through reconciliation, however, this legislation could be filibustered. And it almost certainly would be.

I don't think it would be a big stretch to call this a eugenics bill, because that's where this leads. If you can justify punishing someone for refusing to reveal their genetic makeup or history, you could justify firing them after discovering they're genetically predisposed to costly illnesses.

This legislation was sponsored by Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC).

  • muselet

    I honestly wonder what anomalies a genetic screening of Virginia Foxx would uncover.

    And no, I’m not implying a damn’ thing about Foxx’s brain. All of our genomes are riddled with mutations and weird recombinations of genes, most of which are—or at least seem to be—harmless, but the bozo from Human Resources running the company *ahem* wellness program isn’t going to know that and in fact will be well-paid not to know that. Certainly Virginia Foxx doesn’t know or care, since her employer will foot the bill for whatever ails her in return for a below-market-rate insurance premium. She doesn’t have to worry about getting penalized or fired for having a genetic predisposition for something.

    It might be instructive for her to find out what that’s like. (Yeah, I know, that assumes she’s capable of learning.)

    –alopecia

  • Nefercat

    Wait. This can’t be. Aren’t republicans the champions of keeping gummint out of our healthcare?

  • Scopedog

    The return of eugenics. Holy shit.

    I mean…didn’t we fight a world war against a country that followed this sick belief?

    The GOP is too far gone. The party in its current form MUST be destroyed, no questions asked. These are some truly ghastly people. And yet some in the media and on the Left continue to claim that both parties are somehow the same….

    • Aynwrong
    • Ceoltoir

      These crumbs beliefs have never changed. They just stopped talking about it after they saw the real life consequences of those beliefs play out in the death camps of Nazi Germany. Scratch the surface of any of these so called “pro-life” assholes and that is what they really want.

  • Aynwrong

    People Peale

    • Scopedog

      A real-life version of Gattaca.

      • ninjaf

        This was exactly what I thought.

  • The idea to role back privacy on genetic info is horrifying. Seriously WTF are they thinking? Don’t they know that all their inbreeding will be made known to the entire world?