Letter Opposing H.R. 493, the "Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007"
March 27, 2007
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, opposes H.R. 493, the "Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007." This measure is expected to be considered by the House of Representatives in the near future.
The Chamber recognizes that proponents believe this legislation is necessary to help alleviate the concern of potential discrimination, which may be preventing some individuals from using genetic services. Indeed, it may be possible to address this concern in a targeted manner, without radically re-writing medical privacy laws.
Although the House markup of the bill secured several important technical improvements, H.R. 493 remains overly broad. Its medical privacy provisions will radically alter employer use and processing of health care information, in a confusing manner inconsistent with existing medical privacy laws. The anti-discrimination provisions will invite frivolous litigation and abuse as H.R. 493 employs punitive and compensatory damages through jury trials without a demonstrated history of employer discrimination in this area. H.R. 493 also fails to recognize the significant challenge employers have in complying with the patchwork of state laws regulating medical information and genetic nondiscrimination.
For these reasons, the Chamber opposes H.R. 493 and urges you to vote against it when it
is considered by the House.
R. Bruce Josten