Get ready to open up and say "ahhhhhhhhhh."
Workers participating in so-called workplace wellness programs reportedly could be ordered to get genetic testing — and hand over the results — by their employers or face financial penalties, if a bill being pushed by congressional Republican becomes law.
That bill, passed by a House committee Wednesday, could end up as part of the second phase of planned Obamacare-replacement legislation, the STAT health-care news site reported Friday.
"What this bill would do is completely take away the protection of existing laws," Jennifer Mathis, director of policy and legal advocacy at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, told STAT.
The controversy revolves around disputes over the meaning of a 2008 federal law, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, as well as over administrative interpretations of the Affordable Care Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
GINA, opponents of the new bill say, as a rule bars employers from insisting on genetic testing of their workers, except if that testing is offered as part of a wellness program and is voluntary on the part of the worker.
But the new bill, sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C if passed into law, would make it clear that employers who offered wellness programs, and require genetic testing as part of them, can legally charge workers who refuse the tests a higher price for health insurance than workers who accept the test.