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Thread: Congress passes anti-genetic discrimination bill 414-1: Guess who opposed?

  1. #1

    Exclamation Congress passes anti-genetic discrimination bill 414-1: Guess who opposed?

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    The House voted 414-1 for the legislation Thursday, a week after it passed the Senate on a 95-0 vote. The only member of Congress to vote against the bill was Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

    "Because of the federal government's poor record in protecting privacy, I do not believe the best way to address concerns about the misuse of genetic information is through intrusive federal legislation," Paul said.
    Okay. Can someone please explain to me why he voted no? I'm just not understanding it completely.
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ



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  3. #2

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    Most likely he voted against it because he thinks that this ball is in the State Government, rather than the Federal Government's ballpark. As he has said before, the Constitution places many limits on what the Federal Government is supposed to be involved in.

    Personally, I'm not sure what I think about the bill. I definately think it is out of the Fed's ballpark. On one hand, medical insurance companies could and probably would abuse it in order to make more money. On the other hand, why should I pay for someone else's bad genetic luck? That sounds mean to say, but I already pay for every other bad male driver on the road although I've never been in a wreck or gotten a ticket...unfortunately all problems are not simple.
    Last edited by bcreps85; 05-01-2008 at 06:36 PM.

  4. #3

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    Thanks. You explained it better than the Ron Paul quote chosen in the article.

    That being said, is that what his position would be then? That the states should decide? Or does he believe that genetic material should be used to for various reasons other than medical teatment? Example, less insurance premiums, employment, etc.
    Last edited by TER; 05-01-2008 at 06:35 PM.
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

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    Im sure Ron Paul also has privacy concerns.. I can see this as the foundation for a national database of peoples' names and genetic information.. ON top of that theyll need a phone number and address to contact people for their safety, etc.

    Its a reacharound for the real ID

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    So, if the goverment can't be trusted with this type of sensitive information, than private corporations should be? I guess it is such a sensitive topic that involves so much trust, it is difficult to know who should be handling this kind of data.
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  7. #6

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    i would say he believes it's definatly a matter for the states to decide. I would think it's a contract dispute. If free markets provide coverage, then insurance companies who discriminate would lose business. most people probably have something wrong in their codes. dna is more cluttered than windows vista. this would drive prices down as people would compete for this large market.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by TodaysEpistleReading View Post
    ... Can someone please explain to me why he voted no? I'm just not understanding it completely.
    I don't know, but can tell you why I would vote NO on almost any new law.

    Because these laws are almost always a fraud.
    The moment there is a law - don't forget that there are millions of them ON the books already - the question becomes one of words instead of intent or morals (Clinton's famous: depends what the meaning of the word "is" is). The depraved (unscrupulous) need only satisfy the words in order to enjoy an actual protection from consequences that would otherwise be a clear case of fraud or aggression - at least to the average community. There are endless examples where "new" or "improved" laws are astonishingly adept in having "unintended consequences" - as if.

    Justice is inversely proportional to the quantity of law. - Proemio
    I wrote and argued a ton on that subject over the years.
    It's a fundamental issue surrounding the "what's wrong" question.

    In the department of "words have meaning", just ponder "nation UNDER law" - it's in our face...

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Mitrosky View Post
    Im sure Ron Paul also has privacy concerns.. I can see this as the foundation for a national database of peoples' names and genetic information.. ON top of that theyll need a phone number and address to contact people for their safety, etc.

    Its a reacharound for the real ID
    Yep, good point, probably the main reason in this case.

  10. #9

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    How about the easiest defense - who says you can't discriminate on a genetic basis? You have the right to act as you see fit, whether your hiring decisions be influenced by genetics, ideas, intelligence, or otherwise (or insurance decisions). They can't have your genetic data unless you already gave it to them (or someone else, who had the power to give it to them).
    "It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."
    —Samuel Adams

  11. #10

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    interesting point
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by TodaysEpistleReading View Post
    So, if the goverment can't be trusted with this type of sensitive information, than private corporations should be? I guess it is such a sensitive topic that involves so much trust, it is difficult to know who should be handling this kind of data.
    A lot of people fall into that trap - why can't the government keep some of our data? Private corporations collect tons of information all the time, and they're certainly worse (or potentially worse) than the government.

    This is the big difference: if a private corporation does something wrong with your personal information - accidentally loses it, sells it to someone, etc...you can sue them and punish them. If the govt does it, you're ****ed.

    Also, the federal government can use the information for more uses than private corporations in most instances (companies can't arrest you and take you to jail). But the previous point is the main one, IMO.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyr1988 View Post
    A lot of people fall into that trap - why can't the government keep some of our data? Private corporations collect tons of information all the time, and they're certainly worse (or potentially worse) than the government.

    This is the big difference: if a private corporation does something wrong with your personal information - accidentally loses it, sells it to someone, etc...you can sue them and punish them. If the govt does it, you're ****ed.

    Also, the federal government can use the information for more uses than private corporations in most instances (companies can't arrest you and take you to jail). But the previous point is the main one, IMO.
    This answer gives so much clarity. Thank you.
    +
    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyr1988 View Post
    A lot of people fall into that trap - why can't the government keep some of our data? Private corporations collect tons of information all the time, and they're certainly worse (or potentially worse) than the government.

    This is the big difference: if a private corporation does something wrong with your personal information - accidentally loses it, sells it to someone, etc...you can sue them and punish them. If the govt does it, you're ****ed.

    Also, the federal government can use the information for more uses than private corporations in most instances (companies can't arrest you and take you to jail). But the previous point is the main one, IMO.
    You hit the nail right on the head.
    while (gov > constitution) gov--;

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    Does this mean premiums based on gender (women are lower risk and thus have lower premiums) are now illegal?

    According to National Human Genome Research Institute, 41 states already have enacted legislation related to genetic discrimination in health insurance and 31 states adopted laws regarding genetic discrimination in the workplace.
    So yeah really needed that law for the remaining 9 states...
    Last edited by idiom; 05-02-2008 at 12:34 AM.
    In New Zealand:
    The Coastguard is a Charity
    Air Traffic Control is a private company run on user fees
    The DMV is a private non-profit
    Rescue helicopters and ambulances are operated by charities and are plastered with corporate logos
    The agriculture industry has zero subsidies
    5% of the national vote, gets you 5 seats in Parliament
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    Business licenses aren't even a thing nor are capital gains taxes
    Constitutional right to refuse any type of medical care

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by TodaysEpistleReading View Post
    link



    Okay. Can someone please explain to me why he voted no? I'm just not understanding it completely.
    Ron's for the free market is why. The bill prevents insurance companies from not covering someone with a history of genetic conditions, like heart disease. Ron doesn't like (a lot of) regulations.
    "That's one thing about freedom; you have to tolerate the nonsense too." - Ron Paul

  17. #16

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    I wonder if genetic discrimination can already fall under the civil rights legislation.

  18. #17

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    Yup. I think there's 2 issues here, unnecessary federal regulations and privacy:

    1. Further federal regulations on private companies (although the medical industry will love this, see #2). I do not condone discrimination. However, the free market should be left to decide. If a business owner only sells product to white males, in general, they will lose a lot of business. Once word gets out of their discriminatory business practices they will be sunk. It's a poor business model and any business owner would be stupid to follow it. Therefore, such federal regulations are unnecessary in a non-nanny state.

    2. People will now willingly hand over their DNA for diagnostic testing, screening, and research purposes without the concerns of not being covered by healthcare. The obvious folly is that their genetic makeup will now be in a database, shared between hospitals, on your medical record, on your real id card, shared between countries, accessible by the government, etc. How long before part of the sign-in process requires a cheek swab?
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  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyr1988 View Post
    A lot of people fall into that trap - why can't the government keep some of our data? Private corporations collect tons of information all the time, and they're certainly worse (or potentially worse) than the government.

    This is the big difference: if a private corporation does something wrong with your personal information - accidentally loses it, sells it to someone, etc...you can sue them and punish them. If the govt does it, you're ****ed.

    Also, the federal government can use the information for more uses than private corporations in most instances (companies can't arrest you and take you to jail). But the previous point is the main one, IMO.
    That's true.

    And if a hacker hasn't hacked a system yet, it is only because a hacker has not yet tried...

    McCain was talking about electronic medical records yesterday on his visit here. I have the same concerns about that and privacy. Millions of vets had their VA records comprimised already recently.

  20. #19

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    It should be covered by the 14th Amendment already, AND by the laws in 41 of the states that already exist.
    In New Zealand:
    The Coastguard is a Charity
    Air Traffic Control is a private company run on user fees
    The DMV is a private non-profit
    Rescue helicopters and ambulances are operated by charities and are plastered with corporate logos
    The agriculture industry has zero subsidies
    5% of the national vote, gets you 5 seats in Parliament
    A tax return has 4 fields
    Business licenses aren't even a thing nor are capital gains taxes
    Constitutional right to refuse any type of medical care

  21. #20

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    It is an insurance company's JOB to discriminate! I.e., to assess peoples' likelihood of needing medical care and charge premiums accordingly. If the insurance companies aren't allowed to use genetic information an applicant may have provided, then why should they be allowed to use *any* information? Why should they know your gender? Or weight? Or even your last name, which could provide clues as to a person's country of origin and therefore correlate with certain risks?

    Here's another way to look at it: Let's suppose you have a perfectly healthy family history and wonderful DNA. You would like to show this to your insurance companies and ask for a lower premium. But now the government steps in and says, "Nope, not fair! You have to pay as high of a premium as everyone else so that those with bad DNA don't have to pay higher premiums." That is an assault on your freedom to negotiate with your insurance company.

    It would be analogous to not letting private colleges use SAT scores for making admission decisions.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcreps85 View Post
    On one hand, medical insurance companies could and probably would abuse [DNA info] in order to make more money.
    How so? Insurance companies already know the incidence of various diseases out there--they know the level of risk they are dealing with and are already charging premiums accordingly. If the market would let them get away with raising premiums any more, then they already would have done so.

    The reason they would like to use voluntarily-provided DNA information is to allow them to better determine *who* is at risk. That is an insurance company's purpose--to figure out what a person's risk of needing medical care is and charge premiums accordingly.

    The bill that Congress passed serves to keep insurance companies ignorant about who poses the greatest medical risks so they have no choice but to charge everyone higher premiums in order to cover the costs of insuring the high-risk people. In other words, it leads to the healthy paying for the medical care of the unhealthy.

    If anyone likes this bill, then why should insurance companies be allowed to discriminate on the basis of age, weight, gender, medical history or anything for that matter? That would really keep them in the dark about who is at risk. Heck, why doesn't the government just decree a uniform premium for everyone so that there is no discrimination whatsoever?

    Better yet, why not just be done with insurance companies altogether and just socialize medicine as Hillary wanted in 1993?

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by rp08orbust View Post
    It is an insurance company's JOB to discriminate! I.e., to assess peoples' likelihood of needing medical care and charge premiums accordingly. If the insurance companies aren't allowed to use genetic information an applicant may have provided, then why should they be allowed to use *any* information? Why should they know your gender? Or weight? Or even your last name, which could provide clues as to a person's country of origin and therefore correlate with certain risks?

    Here's another way to look at it: Let's suppose you have a perfectly healthy family history and wonderful DNA. You would like to show this to your insurance companies and ask for a lower premium. But now the government steps in and says, "Nope, not fair! You have to pay as high of a premium as everyone else so that those with bad DNA don't have to pay higher premiums." That is an assault on your freedom to negotiate with your insurance company.

    It would be analogous to not letting private colleges use SAT scores for making admission decisions.
    This is an argument I have come across on the internet about this bill. It seems like insurance companies use risk factors to assess premiums which are not necessarily genetic but by choice (lifestyle decisions such as smoking, race car driving, etc). This, everyone can agree should be factored in to the policy. HOWEVER, they also use genetic material indirectly such as what you listed above, that is sex, weight, and not to mention family history of heart disease or cancer! How can they use this information and not genetic testing information? If my DNA shows I have less risk for cancer and heart disease, I should pay a lower premium. If my DNA shows I have higher risk, I should pay higher premiums. This seems more fair to me.
    +
    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  24. #23

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    reason has a new blog post up about this today.

    The prospect of such an adverse selection spiral is not displeasing to advocates of government-supplied health care. As the New York Times reports:

    It may also give ammunition to those who argue for universal health care. “Ultimately unlocking all these genetic secrets will make the whole idea of private health insurance obsolete,” said Karen Pollitz, director of the Health Policy Institute at Georgetown University.
    Will pervasive genetic testing ineluctably lead down the slippery slope to government medical care? I believe that one way to avoid that outcome may be mandatory private insurance based on community rating. No doubt about it, the dawning of the era of genetic diagnoses holds great promise for treating and preventing diseases but also clearly poses many policy conundrums.
    And that, my friends, is probably another reason Paul voted NAY while the neocons and other assorted socialists voted YAAAY! It paves another path toward socialized medicine.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yom View Post
    How about the easiest defense - who says you can't discriminate on a genetic basis? You have the right to act as you see fit, whether your hiring decisions be influenced by genetics, ideas, intelligence, or otherwise (or insurance decisions). They can't have your genetic data unless you already gave it to them (or someone else, who had the power to give it to them).
    Right on the first point, but wrong on the second. Genetic data is rather easy to come by. You're polluting every environment you visit with your genetic data.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by TodaysEpistleReading View Post
    Okay. Can someone please explain to me why he voted no? I'm just not understanding it completely.
    Anytime you see such overwhelming support for a bill you can bet it's inherently flawed.






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