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Genetic Screening And Genetic Discrimination By Insurance Companies

3611 words - 14 pages

Genetic screening has been a subject of debate for quite some time now. Beginning in the 1990s, when it became prevalent owing to the increasing research into the cause of diseases (Chadwick, 1). Screening brought advantages— the chance to see what diseases or cancers one may be at risk for, an opportunity to take a glimpse inside of one’s personal genome (Tree.com). However, as genetic screening became more and more common, it brought with it just as many disadvantages. Genetic screening found its way into corporate boardrooms and insurance companies, creating large amounts of discrimination against employees where genetic make-up revealed a disposition to certain diseases. Despite acts prohibiting genetic discrimination, such as the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), insurance companies today still use results from genetic screening tests to deny people medical coverage that they need (Hill). Insurance companies should not be permitted to use genetic screening in their application process as it creates discrimination against the individual as well as entire races, and the information is not reliable.
Genetic screening is a process created in the 1990s, which allowed anyone to have his or her genome mapped out and carefully studied for signs of hereditary diseases and cancer. Typically, it is used to detect only recessive or heterozygote diseases such as Tay Sachs Disease and Cystic Fibrosis, and today is applied to predisposition testing for multifactorial diseases of larger populations (Chadwick, 1). Most commonly, the DNA is taken from blood samples or a mouth swab and is then sent to a lab which takes apart the person’s genetic information and records it letter for letter. Today, five different types of screening exist: voluntary, systematic offered, in which it is offered to persons in a specific category, systematic anonymous, in which people from a set group are anonymously chosen for screening, mandatory, typically for jobs and insurance companies, and finally, compulsory for all (Kennet, 12).
Genetic screening could give humans a chance to see a disease they have or that they may develop, and alerting to all of the risks that they might face, and giving each person a chance to look inside their own DNA, the very letters behind his or her existence (Tree.com). The problems of genetic screening, however, are tremendous and greatly outweigh the benefits. Genetic screening is good for one thing: detecting a person’s potential to develop a disease or cancer. It cannot, however, tell the patient whether or not he or she will develop the disease or how severe it will be. Many diseases today have no cure, and seeing could thus create a large amount of stress in someone’s life knowing that he or she may get a disease which cannot be cured or even delayed (Genetics, “Genetic Testing”).
Another significant disadvantage of genetic screening, as well as treatment for disease, is that it’s very costly, and...

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