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Republican bill would let employers demand workers’ genetic test results

Mashable

A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information. Giving employers such power is now prohibited by legislation including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a "workplace wellness" program. The bill, HR 1313, was approved by a House committee on Wednesday, with all 22 Republicans supporting it and all 17 Democrats opposed. It has been overshadowed by the debate over the House GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but the genetic testing bill is expected to be folded into a second ACA-related measure containing a grab-bag of provisions that do not affect federal spending, as the main bill does.


House Republicans would let employers demand workers' genetic test results

PBS NewsHour

A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information. Giving employers such power is now prohibited by legislation including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a "workplace wellness" program. The bill, HR 1313, was approved by a House committee on Wednesday, with all 22 Republicans supporting it and all 17 Democrats opposed. It has been overshadowed by the debate over the House GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but the genetic testing bill is expected to be folded into a second ACA-related measure containing a grab-bag of provisions that do not affect federal spending, as the main bill does.


Employee Genetic Tests: Republican Bill Would Give Employers Access To Your Info

International Business Times

A new bill proposed by Republican legislators would allow companies to require their employees to submit to genetic testing and would give employers the ability to demand access to genetic and other health information. The bill-- HR 1313, or the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act--successfully passed through the House Committee on Education and the Workforce this week on party lines, with all 22 Republicans supporting the measure and all 17 Democrats opposed. The bill is expected to be included in a larger measure related to the Affordable Care Act that would require approval outside of the Republican's current repeal and replace plan. Currently, allowing employers to access the genetic testing of their employees is prohibited by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Passed in 2008, GINA made it against the law for employers to use genetic information to make employment decisions or to limit or classify employees in any way.


Final EEOC rule sets limits for financial incentives on wellness programs

PBS NewsHour

Employer wellness programs can gather medical information from employees and spouses -- so long as financial incentives or penalties don't exceed 30 percent of the annual cost for an individual in the company's group health plan, according to final rules issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Monday. Although such penalties or incentives could run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, the programs are considered voluntary -- and therefore legal, the commission said. The rules seek to ensure "wellness programs actually promote good health and are not just used to collect or sell sensitive medical information about employees and family members or to impermissibly shift health insurance costs to them," the EEOC said. But the final rules drew immediate concern from some groups. Jennifer Mathis, director of programs for the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, says the new rule rolls back protections in existing law.


Bill would let employers penalize workers who say no to genetic testing

Los Angeles Times

Employers could impose hefty penalties on employees who decline to participate in genetic testing as part of workplace wellness programs if a bill approved by a House committee becomes law. Employers, in general, don't have that power under existing federal laws that protect genetic privacy and nondiscrimination. But a bill passed last week by a House committee would allow employers to get around that if the information is collected as part of workplace wellness programs. Workplace wellness programs -- which offer workers a variety of carrots and sticks to monitor and improve their health, such as lowering cholesterol -- have become increasingly popular among companies. Others might charge people more for smoking.