[Pub. L. 110–233, title II, § 213], May 21, 2008, [122 Stat. 920], provided that: “This title [enacting this chapter] takes effect on the date that is 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act [May 21, 2008].”
[Pub. L. 110–233, § 1(a)], May 21, 2008, [122 Stat. 881], provided that: “This Act [enacting this chapter, sections 300gg–53 and 1320d–9 of this title, and section 9834 of Title 26, Internal Revenue Code, amending sections 300gg–1, 300gg–21, 300gg–22, 300gg–61, 300gg–91, and 1395ss of this title, sections 9802 and 9832 of Title 26, and sections 216, 1132, 1182, and 1191b of Title 29, Labor, and enacting provisions set out as notes under this section, sections 300gg–1, 1320d–9, and 1395ss of this title, section 9802 of Title 26, and sections 216 and 1132 of Title 29] may be cited as the ‘Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008’.”
[Pub. L. 110–233, title III, § 301], May 21, 2008, [122 Stat. 920], provided that: “If any provision of this Act [see Short Title note above], an amendment made by this Act, or the application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, the amendments made by this Act, and the application of such provisions to any person or circumstance shall not be affected thereby.”
[Pub. L. 110–233, § 2], May 21, 2008, [122 Stat. 881], as amended by [Pub. L. 111–256, § 2(j)], Oct. 5, 2010, [124 Stat. 2644], provided that: “Congress makes the following findings:
Deciphering the sequence of the human genome and other advances in genetics open major new opportunities for medical progress. New knowledge about the genetic basis of illness will allow for earlier detection of illnesses, often before symptoms have begun. Genetic testing can allow individuals to take steps to reduce the likelihood that they will contract a particular disorder. New knowledge about genetics may allow for the development of better therapies that are more effective against disease or have fewer side effects than current treatments. These advances give rise to the potential misuse of genetic information to discriminate in health insurance and employment.
The early science of genetics became the basis of State laws that provided for the sterilization of persons having presumed genetic ‘defects’ such as intellectual disabilities, mental disease, epilepsy, blindness, and hearing loss, among other conditions. The first sterilization law was enacted in the State of Indiana in 1907. By 1981, a majority of States adopted sterilization laws to ‘correct’ apparent genetic traits or tendencies. Many of these State laws have since been repealed, and many have been modified to include essential constitutional requirements of due process and equal protection. However, the current explosion in the science of genetics, and the history of sterilization laws by the States based on early genetic science, compels Congressional action in this area.
Although genes are facially neutral markers, many genetic conditions and disorders are associated with particular racial and ethnic groups and gender. Because some genetic traits are most prevalent in particular groups, members of a particular group may be stigmatized or discriminated against as a result of that genetic information. This form of discrimination was evident in the 1970s, which saw the advent of programs to screen and identify carriers of sickle cell anemia, a disease which afflicts African-Americans. Once again, State legislatures began to enact discriminatory laws in the area, and in the early 1970s began mandating genetic screening of all African Americans for sickle cell anemia, leading to discrimination and unnecessary fear. To alleviate some of this stigma, Congress in 1972 passed the National Sickle Cell Anemia Control Act [
[Pub. L. 92–294], see Tables for classification], which withholds Federal funding from States unless sickle cell testing is voluntary.
Congress has been informed of examples of genetic discrimination in the workplace. These include the use of pre-employment genetic screening at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, which led to a court decision in favor of the employees in that case [sic] Norman-Bloodsaw v. Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (135 F.3d 1260, 1269 (9th Cir. 1998)). Congress clearly has a compelling public interest in relieving the fear of discrimination and in prohibiting its actual practice in employment and health insurance.
Federal law addressing genetic discrimination in health insurance and employment is incomplete in both the scope and depth of its protections. Moreover, while many States have enacted some type of genetic non-discrimination law, these laws vary widely with respect to their approach, application, and level of protection. Congress has collected substantial evidence that the American public and the medical community find the existing patchwork of State and Federal laws to be confusing and inadequate to protect them from discrimination. Therefore Federal legislation establishing a national and uniform basic standard is necessary to fully protect the public from discrimination and allay their concerns about the potential for discrimination, thereby allowing individuals to take advantage of genetic testing, technologies, research, and new therapies.”
[For meaning of references to an intellectual disability and to individuals with intellectual disabilities in provisions amended by
[section 2 of Pub. L. 111–256], see [section 2(k) of Pub. L. 111–256], set out as a note under section 1400 of Title 20, Education.]