Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

House Passes Genetic Discrimination Bill Tucked into Mental Health Act

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — A broadly supported piece of legislation drafted to protect Americans from genetic discrimination in the workplace and by health insurance companies, but which has been held up for months by one senator, has passed in the US House of Representatives.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act passed in the House yesterday as a section of another bill, introduced by Representative Patrick Kennedy (D – RI), that would provide for equity of health insurance coverage for mental disorders and substance abuse-related disorders.

“Given that most mental health diseases are genetically linked, GINA is natural addition” to the mental health bill, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D – NY) said in a statement.

GINA has been introduced in Congress several times over the past decade. Slaughter last year introduced the 2007 version of the bill, which passed overwhelmingly in the House, but Sen. Olympia Snowe’s Senate version stalled out when Sen. Tom Coburn (R – Okla.) used a tactic called a legislative “hold” on the bill.
In April of last year, GINA passed the house resoundingly, 420 to 3, and earlier versions had passed in the Senate by votes of 95 to 0 and 98 to 0.

But in September 2007, Sen. Coburn placed the hold on the bill, citing concerns about complications having to do with the definition of “genetic testing” and with the need for legal protections for employers.

The Kennedy-sponsored bill, the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007, will now move on to the Senate.

The Scan

Study Finds Sorghum Genetic Loci Influencing Composition, Function of Human Gut Microbes

Focusing on microbes found in the human gut microbiome, researchers in Nature Communications identified 10 sorghum loci that appear to influence the microbial taxa or microbial metabolite features.

Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Researchers in JAMA Network Open did not find an association between ultimate treatment costs and investments in a drug when they analyzed available data on 60 approved drugs.

Sleep-Related Variants Show Low Penetrance in Large Population Analysis

A limited number of variants had documented sleep effects in an investigation in PLOS Genetics of 10 genes with reported sleep ties in nearly 192,000 participants in four population studies.

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.