Should your employer be able to legally make you take a genetic test or increase your health insurance rates by 30%?

Well a House Republican bill, HR 1313, if passed will do exactly that.  HR 1313 titled the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act will allow your employer the ability to demand you take the genetic test or increase your health insurance payments up to 30% for nonsmokers and up to 50% for smokers.

Now what are the Republicans attempting to do here, this is a bill I would have expected the Democrats to sponsor not the Republicans.

The Fortune Magazine news site published an article that stated:

"The legislation has now passed a House committee on a straight party line vote, reports STAT News, with all 22 Republicans unified in support against 17 Democratic detractors"

Again I am flabbergasted to find out that the Republicans voted for this intrusion and the Democrats voted against it.  Good for them.

HR 1313 titled the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act states in section 3 subsection 3 (b) the following:

(b) Collection Of Information.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the collection of information about the manifested disease or disorder of a family member shall not be considered an unlawful acquisition of genetic information with respect to another family member as part of a workplace wellness program described in paragraph (1) or (2) offered by an employer (or in conjunction with an employer-sponsored health plan described in section 2705(j) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300gg–4(j))) and shall not violate title I or title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–233). For purposes of the preceding sentence, the term “family member” has the meaning given such term in section 201 of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (Public Law 110–233).

The problem is that there are two laws that seem to stand in the way of implementing this law and they are the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). These specific laws currently bar employers from even asking an employee to take and submit a genetic test. All it would take is amending the above mention laws to make this law if passed more effective.

Groups lobbying on the behalf of the health insurance companies say that the ADA and GINA laws are in direct conflict with Obamacare's workplace wellness programs and they do not allow them to control cost or improve the employees’ health.  The question I have is how would knowing this information control cost or improve employee health.

I can only assume that they could identify health problems long before the symptoms would present themselves thus a doctor would then be able to address the medical problem earlier.  You still will have the problem to what extent because it was caught early, that is for doctors to inform us.

The question is what the employer will do with the information they are presented with.

Michigan, like many states is an “at-will” employment state. This means that absent an employment contract, both the employer and employee are free to terminate the employment at any given time, and for any legitimate purpose

The Live with Renk Show airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon. To let me know your thoughts during the show please call (269) 441-9595.

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