President Bush has signed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”). Bush called GINA “a piece of legislation which prohibits health insurers and employers from discriminating on the basis of genetic information. In other words, it protects our citizens from having genetic information misused.” GINA prohibits health insurance providers and employers from requiring genetic testing. Genetic data cannot be used to determine insurance premiums, eligibility for insurance, or employment based on genetic data.
GINA also restricts the collection and use of genetic information. Though GINA is a good first step, subsequent legislation could go even further in protecting genetic and other medical data from misuse or abuse. Also, there remain privacy and security questions about health records and the new electronic databases housing such records.