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From USA: Our view: Genetic test threat grows

  >From USA Today on 4/19/96.  jamie
  04/19/96 -  Our view: Genetic test threat grows
    [ The entire editorial is at ]
  In 1993, James Tatum, a 43-year-old postal supervisor from Turlock, Calif.,
  with 25 years of service, suddenly lost his sight. A year later, legally
  blind, he applied for a disability retirement.
  The U.S. Postal Service approved the request. But family members say the
  Department of Labor subsequently denied it, arguing that Tatum's blindness
  was caused by a genetic disorder, which made it a condition that predated
  his employment, which meant it was not covered by his employment benefits.
  All of this foreshadows a grim future. Experts estimate the average human
  may contain eight or nine mutant genes. As science improves our ability to
  describe and detect them, more and more people will be exposed to possible
  exclusion from insurance, and thus from needed health care.
  Part of the problem is privacy. Once in your medical record, the results of
  a genetic test may be available to employers and insurers without your
  knowledge or consent. But part of the problem also is information abuse. As
  in the Tatum case, coverage may be denied on the preposterous grounds that a
  genetic predisposition is the same as a "pre-existing condition."
  Fortunately, the states have started to act. Since 1990, 12 have passed laws
  against genetic discrimination in health insurance or employment. Similar
  bills are pending in 13 more. There's much variation, but ideal legislation
  would both outlaw discrimination and enhance the privacy of medical or
  employment records.
    material deleted because I'm trying to avoid copyright violations.
  James Love / love@tap.org / P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC 20036
  Voice: 202/387-8030; Fax 202/234-5176
  Center for Study of Responsive Law
     Consumer Project on Technology; http://www.essential.org/cpt
     Taxpayer Assets Project; http://www.tap.org