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More, Not Less

Despite protections like the US Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, the Brown Political Review writes there are still ways people can be discriminated against because of their genetics.

It notes that though GINA bars health insurers and employers from discriminating against people because of their genetics, it leaves the door open for life insurers, mortgage lenders, and others to make decisions based on a person's genetics. For instance, BPR notes that in California, a woman who tests positive for a cancer-linked BRCA mutation could be denied a mortgage because of her chance of a shorter lifespan and inability to pay the loan off.

But, BPR writes that rather than tightening these protections, Congress has considered loosening them. A bill proposed earlier this year, HR 1313, would allow employers to seek genetic testing for employees so long as it is part of a voluntary workplace wellness program. This, it says, could have "a chilling effect on voluntary genetic testing." 

"The government, rather than scaling back protections, should work to expand genetic privacy rights to encourage the testing necessary to achieve the promises of personalized medicine," it adds.

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