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LoBiondo Supports Making Discrimination Based on Genetic Information Illegal

Location: Washington, DC

LoBiondo Supports Making Discrimination Based on Genetic Information Illegal

U.S. Congressmen Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) has joined with more than 130 of his Republican and Democrat colleagues in introducing the "Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007." Sponsored by Representatives Judy Biggert (IL-13) and Louise Slaughter (NY-28) with LoBiondo as an original co-sponsor, the legislation would make it illegal for insurance companies or employers to discriminate against an individual based on information determined from their genetic profile.

"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. "This legislation seeks 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 that should be supported by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle."

LoBiondo previously co-sponsored the legislation in the 109th Congress, which failed to be considered by the full House of Representatives. However, similar legislation was approved in the Senate in February 2005 on a 98-0 vote. The "Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007," which currently has 90 Republican and 43 Democrat sponsors, is supported by President Bush and the National Institutes of Health.

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