President Bush Signs Landmark Genetic Nondiscrimination Information Act Into Law

– I fully admit, I was surprised to see our hapless President actually doing something I applauded. The possibility of genetic discrimination is here with us now due to recent discoveries and this was a good piece of work – to prevent corporations from using this information against individuals to enhance their own bottom lines.

– I theorize that the corporate world just hadn’t realized that something important to their bottom lines was on the table – or they would have unleashed their unholy lobbying dogs and headed all of this off.

– So, the President did a good thing for the people. But, I suspect this story isn’t over. The corporations can enhance their bottom lines by using genetic information about us against us and they will wiggle the new law and shake it until they find its weaknesses and then they will drive trucks through those weaknesses.

– And later, when congress notices that the law is being subverted and tries to tighten it, everyone will find a rabid dog hanging on their pant-leg and growling a low message of warning.

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U.S. President George W. Bush signed into law May 21 the first civil rights legislation of the new millennium, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). GINA is the first and only federal legislation that will provide protections against discrimination based on an individual’s genetic information in health insurance coverage and employment settings.

“This is a tremendous victory for every American not born with perfect genes – which means it’s a victory for every single one us,” said Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY). “Since all of us are predisposed to at least a few genetic-based disorders, we are all potential victims of genetic discrimination.”

“Today marks the beginning of a new era in health care,” continued Slaughter. “Americans can finally take advantage of the tremendous potential of genetic research without the fear that their own genetic information will be used against them.”

Just a few weeks ago, GINA received overwhelming support in both the Senate, with a unanimous vote of approval, and the House of Representatives, where the legislation was passed by a landslide vote of 414-1.

“Individuals no longer have to worry about being discriminated against on the basis of their genetic information, and with this assurance, the promise of genetic testing and disease management and prevention can be realized more fully,” stated Sharon Terry, president of the Coalition and CEO of Genetic Alliance. “We applaud our champions on the Hill who have worked tirelessly to pass this important legislation. It is now our responsibility to make sure the public knows that these new protections are in place.”

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