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Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010: Overview and Legal Analysis of Potential Interactions

Amanda K. Sarata, Coordinator
Specialist in Health Policy

Nancy Lee Jones
Legislative Attorney

Jennifer Staman
Legislative Attorney

Upon the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as amended, certain questions have been raised about how PPACA might affect existing law. One such existing law, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), is a civil rights statute and has as its purpose the prohibition of discrimination against individuals on the basis of genetic information. In order to effectuate this prohibition, GINA not only contains certain requirements for health insurance and a general prohibition of employment discrimination provisions, but also has strong privacy protections. On the other hand, PPACA is comprehensive health care legislation that is intended to, among other things, enhance consumer protections in the private health insurance market. Both GINA and PPACA contain provisions affecting certain elements of health insurance, as well as employment-based wellness programs. PPACA, the more recent statute, does not specifically amend GINA and also does not reference GINA's requirements. The two laws serve different but complementary purposes, and there is no explicit conflict or contradiction in their terms. Still, the interaction of these two acts may be analyzed.

This report provides a brief overview of GINA, an overview of relevant PPACA and GINA provisions relating to the provision of health insurance through the private market and the implementation of employer wellness programs, and statutory analysis of the potential interactions between the related provisions in both laws.

Date of Report: July 8, 2010
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: R41314
Price: $29.95

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