President Bush has signed GINA, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, into law.
The legislation, which passed Congress last month after languishing for more than a decade, will make it illegal for employers or health insurers to discriminate on the basis of genetics. Genetic information will still be fair game in life insurance or long-term care coverage, however.
“This is a tremendous victory for every American not born with perfect genes — which means it’s a victory for every single one us,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter , a New York Democrat who first introduced the bill in 1995.
The law will not go into effect immediately. The insurance provisions take effect in about a year, and the employment rules about six months after that. So it remains to be seen how much of an effect GINA will have, especially when you consider that most states already have laws in place prohibiting genetic discrimination.