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Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2005

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. COBURN. Madam President, I thank Senator Enzi and all those who have worked hard on this bill. I have a few questions in terms of my concern about prenatal testing.

Do I understand from the remarks of the Senator from Wyoming that this legislation is directed against a wide range of cases with which individuals of families may be discriminated against in health insurance coverage based on the results of genetic tests conducted on any family member?

Mr. ENZI. Yes, that is correct.

Mr. COBURN. One example of such discrimination cited in the past is based on prenatal testing. A 1996 report by the National Academy of Sciences cited a case in which a California HMO threatened to deny health care coverage to a child because that child, before being born, antenatal, tested positive for a genetic defect associated with cystic fibrosis. Would this legislation protect against this type of discrimination?

Mr. ENZI. Madam President, yes. In the type of situation described, the legislation would prohibit the insurer from discriminating against both the mother and the child because of the result of the genetic test of the child. It is the intent of the legislation to prohibit insurers from denying coverage to either a child or the child's family members based on the results of prenatal testing.

Mr. COBURN. I thank the Senator. Based on that interpretation and my understanding that the Senator will ensure the conference report includes language that makes clear that a dependent child will be protected from discrimination under this legislation regardless of when the

genetic information was acquired, including any information gained from ante- and prenatal testing, I will support the bill. I congratulate Senator Enzi and thank him for his hard work and for the colloquy.

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