LoBiondo Applauds Congress for Making Discrimination Based on Genetic Information Illegal
Congressman Joined Bipartisan Group in Sponsoring Legislation to Block Potential Discrimination by Insurance Companies, Employers
U.S. Congressmen Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today applauded Congress for approving legislation that would make it illegal for insurance companies or employers to discriminate against an individual based on information determined from their genetic profile. LoBiondo had joined with Representatives Judy Biggert (IL-13), Louise Slaughter (NY-28) and more than 130 of his Republican and Democrat colleagues in introducing the "Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007." President Bush has indicated that he would sign the bill into law.
"Genetic testing continues to be a highly beneficial tool for researchers and doctors in identifying and treating diseases. Yet many Americans continue to hesitate having the genetic screening procedure for the fear that their insurance companies or employers may deny them health care coverage based on the results," said LoBiondo. "After nearly a decade of needless delays, Congress today has succeeded in efforts to alleviate their legitimate concerns."
Currently, there are more than 900 predictive genetic tests that will determine if an individual is at risk of suffering from specific diseases, such as breast cancer, heart disease and diabetes. With medical technology readily available, individuals can voluntarily elect to have their genetic genome examined for disease indicators and take preventative steps to reduce their chances of suffering from these diseases or treat the illness earlier. Early detection and action is often more cost-efficient and deemed more successful in treatment.
"Medical research has made great progress, but that progress will be lost if we do not allow individuals to take advantage of it," said LoBiondo. "The opportunity to lower healthcare costs and save lives makes this bill a common-sense approach and I am pleased that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle could overwhelmingly support it."