Skip to content


WASHINGTON, DC— Today, Senator Edward M. Kennedy released the following

statement on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. A bipartisan agreement has

been reached and the bill may move forward to the floor of the United States Senate as

early as this week.


“This needed legislation will help unlock the extraordinary potential of this new era of

the life sciences, and I'm pleased that we have been able to reach bipartisan agreement. I

hope the Senate will be able to vote on this legislation at the earliest opportunity."



Scientists have now completed the historic task of deciphering the entire DNA sequence

of the human genetic code. This new knowledge is already allowing doctors to develop

better ways to diagnose, prevent or treat some of the most feared diseases known to

humanity. For genetic research to fulfill its promise to improve health, patients must be

able to receive its benefits free from the fear that genetic information will be used as a

basis for discrimination.


The bipartisan Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act addresses these legitimate

fears. This legislation will establish strong protections against discrimination based on

genetic information in health insurance and employment. Support for the bill has come

from a wide range of organizations representing patients, medical professionals, families

and employees. We should give all Americans the comprehensive protections against

genetic discrimination in health insurance and employment they deserve by enacting this

important legislation.


With regard to health insurance discrimination, the Act will:


PROHIBIT enrollment restriction and premium adjustment on the basis of

genetic information or genetic services;


PREVENT health plans and insurers from requesting or requiring that an

individual take a genetic test; and


COVER all health insurance programs, including those under ERISA, state

regulated plans, and the individual market.

With regard to employment discrimination, the Act will:


PROHIBIT discrimination in hiring, compensation, and other personnel



PROHIBIT the collection of genetic information, and allow genetic testing only

to monitor the adverse effects of hazardous workplace exposures;


REQUIRE genetic information possessed by employers to be confidentially

maintained and disclosed only to the employee or under other tightly controlled

circumstances; and


COVER employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, and training