Skip to Main Content

A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information.

Giving employers such power is now prohibited by legislation including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a “workplace wellness” program.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!

  • these politicians need to be prepared to adhere to any bill they pass on the American public, so under this bill they would be tested and charged more for their heath care too they need to be on our retirement and we should vote any raises or benefits no more retiring after 2 terms

  • Those of us that want to hold our Congress and President accountable should use this website:

    It can track YOUR Representative’s votes on legislation. Can track bills in a specific category you have an interest in following etc. You get an e mail of the activity at a frequency you set. I get weekly.
    You can search for any bill. Get a summary or a full text of the legislation. Check it out.

    Here is the sponsor of HB 1313
    Status: Referred to Committee on Mar 2, 2017

    This bill was assigned to a congressional committee on March 2, 2017, which will consider it before possibly sending it on to the House or Senate as a whole.

    Sponsor: Virginia Foxx

    Representative for North Carolina’s 5th congressional district Republican

    Prognosis: 5% chance of being enacted according to PredictGov (details)

  • I heard 1984 made it back on the best sellers list. Maybe required reading. The title has appeared in the press and post MANY times in the last few years. For us old farts that DID read it, there are too many similarities with today’s politics than we are comfortable with.

    Fortunately, there is growing push back on the bill from both sides of the house.

    Anybody got the time to look up the sponsors and co-sponsors of the bill and start informing their constituents in time for the mid terms. Irresponsible legislation should be discouraged by “Your Fired”.


  • This is discrimination like you’ve never seen it. Do you want to open up the floodgates and allow employers to essentially have the right to judge potential employees with the same kind of bias and criteria the Nazis used?

    This is akin to eugenics. If you think discrimination based on obvious and visible disabilities is bad, just imagine what this could mean to tens of millions of Americans who have genetic predispositions to certain diseases or physical or mental conditions.

    We are heading down a path of ethical dilemma like we’ve never known before. When commerce and profit are allowed to utilize previously unknown and unavailable criteria to subjugate individuals it is the beginning of a world where the Darwinian concept of natural selection is being manipulated and accelerated, thereby leading to the genocide of huge swaths of the population.

    This allowing politicians to “play God” on a scale that should alarm and terrify all people. Please study up on this and try to understand where it could lead. Let your mind extrapolate the potential consequences. This is not a place humanity is ready to go.

  • The trouble with this is that we are still in kindergarten when it comes to pinning diseases on genes. A lot of people jumped on that bandwagon when the human genome was sequenced. Turns out to be a lot more complicated than that and very few genes have been found guilty. Instead, we should be looking more at epigenetic causes. Oops, that will not be popular with the pols who voted for this testing. They are also busy trying to make the environment more hazardous to our health.

    • Oh sorry, didn’t realize my comment had appeared, so repeated it. Maybe good enough to say twice? Joke.

    • Remember Mr Greenjeans from Captain Kangaroo. Lawmakers have the “Green Gene”.

  • Yes why not everyone get the same good healthcare the legislators have found for themselves?

  • I am open to the debate if legislators agree to genetics testing, with publicly available results, as a condition for running for office.

    And while the meter is running: Why all of this healthcare kvetching when we could simply adopt a measure that provides all citizens with the same health care as the elected? Who could argue otherwise?

    • I agree with JML. Let’s have the genetic information on our legislators. See if any selfish or dishonesty genes appear in the results. As for employees, they get closer to being serfs.

      Even if this weren’t wrong in all ways, why would you do this at a time when honest researchers are admitting that there is no gene causing a lot of the health problems you don’t want your employees to have. It was a bandwagon that everyone got on when the human genome was sequenced. Turns out to be a lot more complicated than that, and possibly in many cases epigenetic instead. Oops, there’s that environmental component that will be very unpopular with the pols who voted for this genetic testing baloney.

  • Jeanne Alberti, “Why should anyone be entitled to your genetic information.”

    Entitled is the key word. If you release your genetic information it should be completely voluntary without coercion, pressure, intimidation, or financial penalty. Full disclosure about how it will be used and your privacy protected prior to your decision to donate. Studying large pools of DNA is very beneficial for medical research. It does not require your personal identity information. You should also be aware that DNA is collected for every service member. The PR is to identify their remains but it is also used for other things not publicized. Similarly, Some state take DNA from convicted criminals to help identify repeat offenders.

  • I’m not a “conspiricy” person at all, but this proposed legislation sends a chill up my spine. At the very least, it’s an incredible intrusion on personal rights and information. At the very worse, it’s a diabolical plan to slowly collect and catalogue DNA fingerprints on every person in this country, the Fourth Ammendment, GINA and ADA be damned.

Comments are closed.