04.24.08

KENNEDY, ENZI, SNOWE, SLAUGHTER TO DISCUSS GINA PASSAGE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Edward Kennedy, Chairman of the Health, Education,Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Mike Enzi, Ranking Member of theHELP Committee, Senator Olympia Snowe, and Representative Louise Slaughter willspeak with reporters today, April 24th, following the expected passage of the GeneticInformation Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) in the Senate print press gallery, located onthe third floor of the United States Capitol. The vote is expected to occur around 2:00PM. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act will prohibit genetic discrimination byhealth insurers and employers who may attempt to use genetic information againstpersons with potential health problems. A summary of the legislation is included below. WHO: Senator Edward KennedySenator Mike EnziSenator Olympia SnoweRepresentative Louise SlaughterWHAT: Press availability on GINA passageWHEN: TODAY at approximately 2:20pm, Thursday, April 24th,following the vote on GINAWHERE: S- 316, the Senate Print Press Gallery—third floor of theUnited States Capitol THE GENETIC INFORMATION NONDISCRIMINATION ACTScientists have now completed the historic task of deciphering the entire DNA sequenceof the human genetic code. This new knowledge is already allowing doctors to developbetter ways to diagnose, prevent or treat some of the most feared diseases known tohumanity. For genetic research to fulfill its promise to improve health, patients must beable to receive its benefits free from the fear that genetic information will be used as abasis for discrimination. The bipartisan Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act addresses these legitimatefears. This legislation will establish strong protections against discrimination based ongenetic information in health insurance and employment. Support for the bill has comefrom a wide range of organizations representing patients, medical professionals, familiesand employees. We should give all Americans the comprehensive protections againstgenetic discrimination in health insurance and employment they deserve by enacting thisimportant legislation. With regard to health insurance discrimination, the Act will:• PROHIBIT enrollment restriction and premium adjustment on the basis ofgenetic information or genetic services;• PREVENT health plans and insurers from requesting or requiring that anindividual take a genetic test; and• COVER all health insurance programs, including those under ERISA, stateregulated plans, and the individual market.With regard to employment discrimination, the Act will:• PROHIBIT discrimination on the basis of genetic information in hiring,compensation, and other personnel processes; •PROHIBIT the collection of genetic information, and allow genetic testing onlyin very limited circumstances, such as monitoring the adverse effects of hazardousworkplace exposures; • REQUIRE genetic information possessed by employers to be confidentiallymaintained and disclosed only to the employee or under other tightly controlledcircumstances.

Press Contact

Craig Orfield