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.
The bill, HR 1313, was approved by a House committee on Wednesday, with all 22 Republicans supporting it and all 17 Democrats opposed. It has been overshadowed by the debate over the House GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but the genetic testing bill is expected to be folded into a second ACA-related measure containing a grab-bag of provisions that do not affect federal spending, as the main bill does.
There is an invasive dark and disturbing presence here.
This is being pushed by the Republican Party to allow a bigger Government data base which will not be accurate or secure. If allowed your children’s genetic ‘make-up’ could be determined with this test. That in turn would shut down all future Employment chances for them and their children as well. It is a clear form of Genetic Breeding from behind a Fortune 500 Corporate Dictatorship. If a mistake is made in the test you would not have a chance to correct it. If this info is given across all Employment Offices due to an ‘error’ there will be no recourse for the citizens. Will they force the disabled and those determined to be a “risk” stay unemployed or even executed for the “good of their Health”? It has been done less than 80 years ago, and was accepted by the citizens due to a Dictator.
Hitler is dead but there are some aspiring people here in America that think “they alone” can fix America. The ‘Hitler’ comparison does not resonate with the public. No traction. You should talk about the CURRENT Administration instead. A person who wants to become a dictator discredits the FBI and Judicial System, appoints spies in every Fedeeral agency to intimidate and fire dissidents, gathers like minded people around him by giving them favors so he can embrace their power to add to HIS power, degrades the free press, and supports a police state they control. Then you might get some traction.
Where’s your back up resources for this article?
HIPAA Privacy Law would not permit employers to view personal data.
Your article incites fake news and unfounded allegations of employers docking pay for a voluntary program….. where is your back up, as if what you say is accurate, these employers owe back pay to these employees in addition to being fined and penalized if they are classified under FSLA
Tess, here’s a link to the bill. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1313/titles
This is not “fake” news, it’s a very serious potential threat to employee privacy.
Since the people are the employers of politicians, does this mean we can demand genetic test results on each and every one of them?
WE the People are not the employers of the politicians. How many million did YOU donate to your Congressmen’s election. We should be but less than 50% of registered voters actually voted. Corporate America, and very rich individuals donate Millions for access to their hired help and pay lobbists handsomely to curry legislation that profits them. Why the rich get richer and the middle class gets poorer and poorer. Until we have campaign finance reform, that will continue until we have a revolution of the masses against the elite. Look at history if you don’ believe me.
This type of legislation is another reason why we should uncouple health insurance from employment.
Eileen, please clarify what you would prefer? You propose employers should not have to provide health insurance at all? Medicare for all. Private pay for all?
There are a number of reasons why health insurance (note this is not the same as a health plan) should be individual and fully portable. These include coverage despite loss of employment, changing jobs and now this type of big brother proposed legislation. I am not advocating for any type of health system, merely for a person’s health insurance to be owned and managed by them. The old WWII tradition of giving health coverage as a benefit is outdated. We live in a far too mobile of a society. Employers should adjust how they pay employees so employees can purchase their own coverage.
HR 1313 does not allow employers to force all their workers to submit to genetic testing. H.R. 1313 would allow employers to offer substantial health insurance premium rebates to workers who take part in company wellness programs that may include submitting to “health risk assessments.” More info at: http://www.snopes.com/genetic-testing-bill/
You can forfeit thousands if you refuse to submit. Isn’t that being forced?
Those who do not participate in a voluntary program cannot be penalized for not participating! That sounds a lot like arm-twisting to me (i.e. Coercion).
Snopes is incorrect, the bill WOULD allow employers to require employees and their family members to undergo genetic testing.
1. Health risk assessments and medical/genetic screenings are considered “participatory” wellness programs under the ACA. No limits on penalties apply to such programs — employers can outright require employees to answer the questionnaires and undergo the exams as long as they are part of the “wellness” program. (Penalty limits only apply to “health-contingent” wellness programs.)
2. The only thing that stood in the way of compulsory wellness program inquiries and exams were the civil rights laws — the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which required participation to be voluntary.
3. H.R. 1313 nullifies those civil rights requirements that participation be voluntary, so compliance with the ACA (see #1 above) would be sufficient. Group health plans would still be constrained under the law, but employers and their third-party wellness vendors would not.
I work in the wellness industry and can say the employer will know none of your personal information due to HIPAA. However, the employer can get aggregate data if at least 25 employees take the test. We do a health screenings at our company and our employees see this as a benefit. They get free medical testing at work from a third party company and then get their results mailed to them. We as an employer see no individual results. We use the aggregate data to help us decide what kind of health promotion programs to offer. Our employees get an extra day off for taking the test and they also get breakfast after the test. The screening is a blood, draw, blood pressure, height, and weight. The blood draw tests for blood sugar and cholesterol. Employees can choose to have PSA, thyroid, and A1C screening if they want. Again no personal info is shared with the employer, it’s free to employees, they get all of their results which they can share with their doctors, and they get a free day off. Not to mention this is fine at work and no extra trip to the fixtures office is needed. Some employers will incent based on outcomes which can be up to 30% of individual insurance premium cost. But that employee must be eligible to receive the full discount by participating in a part of the wellness program.
If this comment is indicative of the wellness industry, be afraid. Be very afraid. I mean no disrespect to legitimate wellness companies like Limeade, Redbrick, ItStartswithMe, Sonic Boom or Sterling, but most wellness companies would make comments like this.
First, employees do NOT see their employer poking them with needles as a “benefit.” They see the extra day off as a benefit and this is the price to pay for it. At most companies workers stand to lose a lot of money if they don’t submit to this “benefit.” And yet, as other comments as noted, many prefer to forfeit hundreds of dollars rather than submit.
Second, two of the three other tests they can “choose to have” — PSA and thyroid — should NOT be done on healthy employees due to false positives. This is well-established by clinical guidelines. How can you be in the wellness industry and not know this? Which company are you?
Anyone interested in an expose of this type of quackery can visit http://www.theysaidwhat.net . Even without DNA, these people harm employees with demonstrably bad medical advice. Wellsteps, for example, won a Deplorables Award for harming Boise School District employees. One can only imagine how much worse it will get with DNA.
so if employers can not see the results of the test who does? And how would they know what healthcare plan to offer if they don’t see the results as you claimed? Isn’t it up to the employee to choose this? So much for GOP’s promise to have our health care and insurance plans in our hands and freedom to choose. This is nowhere near of freedom. Total BS!
Oh boy! Free breakfast! Worth revealing my genes, then.
Sarah, you are speaking about current law. This new bill is to allow employers to hike insurance rates by 30 to 50% to employees to do not submit.. And make the results viewable to the employer. This test would be part of the wellness program.
This is an abomination! Resist!
How, exactly, do you suggest people resist when this becomes law?
Well, those of you that voted for the GOP can re-evaluate if you are getting the benefits for what you voted for. Are you better off or not financially? Did they reverse Roe vs. Wade? Did they pass Federal Legislation to affirm your rights to own weapons? Make laws governing what goes on your bedroom? You haven’t YET every time the GOP owned both houses and the presidency. Instead, the debt skyrocketed while the economy went soft. Unemployment went up. EVERY TIME! Then decide which party to vote for come midterms. Those that voted for the Democratic Party needs to point out the GOP legislation like this to all your friends, family, and acquaintances and ask them if THEY think that is in their benefit for it to become law.
You encourage all your co workers to find another job that does NOT require genetic testing. Those that can’t can decrease their ‘productivity’ and when they see something occur that might be detrimental to their employee’s bottom line, just don’t try to fix it. Passive resistance. Form a Union. Donate to the ACLU and other organizations that file legal action to declare this kind of legislation unconstitutional. ROE vs. Wade has been re affirmed numerous times that fundamentally asserted the Constitutional Right for women to control their own bodies. That also includes their DNA.
ALL employers should be afraid of the employees,enough so they don’t do these sort of things to their employees,FOR example,if the owner or CEO,happened to live in a certain area,or drank in a certain bar,IT wouldn’t be hard to take a razor sharp knife and open him up,they get over stupid Ideas that way,especially if their warned it might be coming if they don’t stop.ITS a shame america is coming to this,but Big companies prefer it that way,SATAN is the one behind this stuff,and you have to fight fire with fire,an old saying but its true..FORCE is all some people understand,and blood on the sidewalk……
Arizona-you are joking-right?
Otherwise I think your future may include prison. If you mean what you say, you belong there.
what drugs are you on this time?
I am not a proponent of political violence. But lets not forget America has had ONE Civil War already. A very bloody one considering the weaponry available at that point in time. More deaths than WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, etc. The bloodiest in our history. By contrast the Civil Rights movement was very successful with a much smaller body count.
Fortunately, since the Civil War, we have had our ‘Revolutions’ at the ballot box. Power shifts back and forth when it gets too extreme. America generally votes their pocket books. This last election was about WHICH pocketbooks. Still, there is a fundamental cause of revolutions though out history. When the masses are exploited too much, they revolt against the ‘elite’. Strangely, the Trump campaign made promises to both the economically oppressed and the elite. He and the GOP can’t deliver both.
America believes they can’t do anything about them earning less and less spendable income, more draconian employers, etc. Less than half of them simply don’t vote. Apathy. My vote doesn’t count. Why bother.
So, there isn’t enough discontent in the populace to sustain and armed civil war. But the question is simply when and how it will occur? We already have class warfare.
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