|As mapping of the human genome progresses and new genetic
tests are developed, the National Breast Cancer Coalition believes
strongly that legislative and regulatory strategies must be established
to address the protection of individuals from the misuse
of their genetic information. Genetic information is uniquely
private information that should not be disclosed without
authorization by the individual. Improper disclosure can lead
to significant harm, including discrimination in employment,
education, health care and insurance.
H.R. 306, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination in Health
Insurance Act, would go beyond the protections offered in the
Kassebaum-Kennedy Health Insurance Reform Act of 1996 by
extending protections against misuse of genetic information to all
health plans—both federally regulated and state-regulated insurance
—as well as government, church, individual and Medicare
supplemental coverage policies. Passage of this bill would prohibit
these plans from discriminating against individuals based on private
genetic information. S. 1322/H.R. 2457 would extend the protection
offered in the H.R. 306 to the employment arena. NBCC
believes that legislation must be passed to ensure that individuals
are not discriminated against based on genetic information.
On February 8, 2000, President Clinton signed an Executive
Order banning genetic discrimination in the federal workplace.