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Effects Of Genetic Discrimination Essay

1143 words - 5 pages

The new advancements in genetics spark a new revolution in medicine. Genetic information not only can help us better understand the diseases that plague us, but can also prevent diseases that could potentially be harmful to us. However America’s history of discrimination has taken over this new revolution also. Despite our revolutionized and civilized culture, America still suffers the cruel grip of evil that lies behind many legal documents and contracts. Genetic Discrimination is when people are treated differently by their employer or insurance company because they have or are perceived to have a gene mutation that causes or increases the risk of an inherited disorder. Although insurance ...view middle of the document...

However insurers are using this valuable information to determine the risks they are taking when issuing a policy to an individual. The lower the risk, the more likely the insurer is to issue a policy; the higher the risk, the less likely an insurer is to issue a policy. Insurers using genetic information for underwriting purposes have a potential for discrimination. The constitutional ideals in our society lead us to automatically see the negatives of disclosing such information. The right to privacy, through HIPAA (Human Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and the right to equal protection, through GINA (Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act), play an important role in our perspectives of such use. Many patients would like to know what they could be in line for in the future but they are “worried that [they] might not be able to get health insurance or a job” (Harmon) if a genetic predisposition showed up in their medical records. Additionally, the possibility of the unlimited capabilities of such invasive knowledge creates a fear of its potential. This fear leads to unwillingness to partake in the testing and development of genetic science by individuals. The fear of the “dire economical consequences” (Harmon) of knowing or releasing such information causes many people to avoid getting this test done. Thus, the full benefits of genetic research cannot be realized.
People have the right worry. As long as America chooses to have an insurance industry that charges customers on the basis of expected medical costs, firms will face obvious pressures and incentives to use whatever “information they can find to avoid high-risk customers” or to “charge these consumers more than they would charge others”.(Hummel) Companies can follow many strategies to achieve favorable risk selection. They can offer free health club memberships, offer poor oncology reimbursement, and do countless other things with the same end in mind. However Genetic tests are the most blatant approach. There is indeed something “evil [about] using a quick cheek swab” (Drake) to deny insurance when to all outward appearances the client is young and healthy. Many medical tests look for specific proteins associated with a costly disease. A surprising number of people believe it is awful to use a genetic cystic fibrosis test to deny someone health insurance, but that it is OK to deny coverage to people because they are actually sick. It's not OK. In fact many long term care facilities can...

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