Saturday, March 24, 2007

Federal bill prohibiting genetic discrimination analyzed by Congressional Budget Office

H.R. 493 (the "Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007") would broadly prohibit genetic discrimination by employers (including states and their political subdivisions), unions, employment agencies, and insurers. It has 221 co-sponsors, which is more than enough (assuming they all vote for the bill in the form in which it hits the floor and after amendments, if any) to pass in the House. Here's the Congressional Research Service's summary of the bill:

For a more detailed discussion of the bill, go to H. Rept. 11-28 (Part I), March 5, 2007. Also, a number of states already have similar laws on their books. The National Conference of State Legislatures has a handy list of such laws (last updated Nov. 2006 (employment) and June 2005 (insurance)).

Yesterday, the CBO published its cost estimate for H.R. 493. Over 10 years, the federal treasury would be out about $2 million (because premiums for some of the new insureds would be tax-deductible) and the CBO estimates increased outlays of about $2 million (assuming appropriations are approved) for the Departments of Labor, Treasury, and HHS. There will be additional state and private-sector mandates in connection with the anti-discrimination law, but CBO figures the cost will be low for the states and below the threshold in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act for the private-sector actors.

If there's a surprise in any of this, it might be in the estimated number of citizens expected to benefit from this law: 600. Is there any chance this is a typo?

posted by tommayo, 7:46 AM

Health care law, with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter