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TURNER GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS
COMMENDS PASSING OF THE
GENETIC INFORMATION NONDISCRIMINATION ACT
President George W. Bush Signs Landmark Bill into Law
Washington, D.C., May 2008 – Turner GPA,one of the premier government affairs and lobbying firms in the nation, is pleased to announce that on May 21 President George W. Bush signed into law legislation that prohibits employers and health insurance companies from discriminating against individuals on the basis of genetic information. Turner GPA has been a principal advocate for passage of this landmark legislation as part of our community involvement and pro bono services.
Specifically, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) bans employers from considering genetic information when making employment and promotional decisions and forbids health insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums because of genetic test results. The bill was introduced 13 years ago by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) but was only signed into law after an amended version won near unanimous support in both Houses of Congress earlier this year.
“The implications of GINA are tremendous,” said Caren Turner, CEO of Turner GPA. “American citizens no longer have to choose between their health and their vulnerability. Employees will now be able to establish their risk status for genetic diseases and additionally seek out treatment without the fear that they will lose their jobs or their health insurance.”
Those stipulations of GINA regarding health insurance will take effect by May 2009 and those regarding employment will take effect by November 2009. In the meantime, employers and health insurance companies are encouraged to review and update their policies and procedures in order to guarantee compliance with the new law.