Genetic Discrimination Essay

Topics: Genetics, Human genome, Health insurance Pages: 5 (1794 words) Published: June 1, 2013
Genetic Discrimination

The fear of genetic discrimination is a phobia gripping many people around the world. People find themselves asking, could my genetic information raise my health bills? Could this cause me to be rejected from a job opportunity? These anxieties are causing people to lash out at genetic research, and ultimately the human genome project. People do not want our understanding of human genomics to advance. This is because the risks of the development of the technology could inflict on them. A major risk is genetic discrimination. I believe that genetic discrimination is wrong and governments should continue to prevent it because it is an invasion of privacy, it violates equity, and it could really hurt people with genetic disabilities. On the other hand, some might argue that genetic discrimination is beneficial because companies can select better workers or choose the appropriate cost of a person’s health care. But, I think that if we continue our research in genetics, gene therapy could cancel any arising issues and everyone could get what they want!

The human genome project was a 13-year project run by the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. The goal of this project was to discover and map all of the human genes so that they may be used in future biological studies. Also, it aimed at figuring out all the sequences of bases in DNA (in the human genome.) Throughout this project, the new knowledge of genetic material helped us better understand human health and disease. That means the project has assisted in the advancement of medical technology! The advancements include how to predict and diagnose different diseases, such as gene testing. Gene testing is the scanning of a sample of DNA to find mutations. Last, the data has led to the investigation in a new medical

technology, gene therapy. Gene therapy aims at curing any genetic diseases. The human genome project came to a close in 2003, but the data will be analyzed for many years to come. Genetic discrimination is the bias of people with certain characteristics defined by their genetic information. Genetic information includes any tests, medical, or family genetic history. Many people were worried about being genetically discriminated against when applying for a job, health insurance, etc. Therefore, people were not participating in genetic research, and it became very hard to continue this valuable investment. So, in 2008 the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was passed and took effect in 2011, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) implements the regulations. This law helps protect Americans from any genetic discrimination. This was the law passed that had the most impact in preventing genetic discrimination. It amended prior laws that didn’t do enough to protect people. Some of those laws includes the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), and the Social Security Act. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act helps protect us against biased health insurers. It says that health insurers cannot use our genetic information to set eligibility, coverage, or premium requirements. Also, we are not to be asked to take a genetic test for them. GINA also protects us in employment by making it illegal for employers to make firing, hiring, promotions, pay, and assignment decisions based on genetic information. Employers also cannot ask for our genetic information. In addition, GINA helps people in genetic

research studies. It says the research must give information on confidentiality and risks on the consent form. Although, GINA is not applied to the military, TRICARE, Indian Health Service, Veterans Health administration, Federal Employees Health Benefits, and long term care, life, or disability insurance. But, other laws protect...
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