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On March 5 the text of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was added to the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act (H.R.1424). GINA had already passed the House in April 2007 as H.R.493. The new bill passed the House 268-148. The future of GINA remains unclear, as the mental health bill may go to a House-Senate conference committee to be reconciled with a mental health bill passed by the Senate last year – a version that does not include GINA.

In the Senate, GINA has been on hold by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) for many months, preventing its consideration despite widespread support in both chambers. After GINA’s passage this month, supporters of the legislation are cautiously optimistic that its long journey through the Congress soon will result in a new law. However, GINA opponents are taking this opportunity to again raise their concerns about the bill. Many of the concerns already have been addressed directly in the version of GINA currently on hold in the Senate.

Though the White House originally had expressed support for GINA, it released a Statement of Administration Policy on H.R.1424 this month stating that, “While the Administration strongly supports passage of legislation to prevent the misuse of an individual’s personal genetic information and believes such legislation is critical to realizing the full potential of genomic medicine, the Administration has both substantive and process objections to the rule.” – Susannah Baruch

Look up H.R.1424, the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act, on Thomas

Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1424 - Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007

Article – Prohibiting Genetic Discrimination

White paper – U.S. Public Opinion on Uses of Genetic Information and Genetic Discrimination

Issue brief – The impact of genetic discrimination

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