The Stroke of a Pen

Synthetic Genetic Shakespeares

Congressional legislation allowing companies to push their employees to undergo genetic testing and requiring them to disclose the results has received House committee approval (1).  HR 1313 was written to better align the stipulations of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (2) and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 with current workplace wellness programs.  Supporting testimony by the American Benefits Council, an organization of benefits providers, expressed concern that existing laws inhibit the capacity of wellness programs to improve employee health and productivity.      

Genetic data given to companies will be ‘de-identified’ to protect the privacy of the participating employees.  However, if the genetic information is anonymous it is not easy to see how it could substantially improve corporate wellness programs.  If wellness program-mandated genetic testing can’t help much why would companies want to underwrite it and use financial ploys to coerce employee compliance?  Genetic information is valuable.             

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