Senate Passes Bill Banning Genetic Bias

Law, approved 95-0, would protect people with hereditary risks
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2008 5:20 PM CDT
U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, left, R-Maine, talks to a crowd gathered at a local Republican caucus in Lewiston, Maine, on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2008.   (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)
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(Newser) – The Senate unanimously approved a bill today banning discrimination by employers and health insurers based on the results of genetic tests, the Los Angeles Times reports. Senators hope the measure will encourage testing for those who have abstained out of fear of professional or financial repercussions. The bill is expected to pass easily in the House, and President Bush supports it.

"We are on the threshold of a new era, because for the first time, we act to prevent discrimination before it takes hold," said Republican Olympia Snowe, an early sponsor. "It's the first civil rights bill of the new century of life sciences," Democrat Ted Kennedy added. The bill covers only health insurance, not life or long-term care coverage.