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Editorial: Time for Congress to kill Virginia Foxx’s ‘wrongheaded’ genetics bill

As Congress continues its debate over the Republican replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, one bill sponsored by North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC5) is being resoundingly rejected by her hometown newspaper.

Here’s how the editorial board of the Winston-Salem Journal explains the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (HR 1313) that was introduced by the 5th District Congresswoman earlier this month:

The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, HR 1313, would allow employers to impose big financial penalties on employees who decline to provide information on their genetics through workplace wellness programs. “Employers, in general, don’t have that power under existing federal laws that protect genetic privacy and nondiscrimination. But a bill passed Wednesday by a House committee would allow employers to get around that if the information is collected as part of workplace wellness programs,” The Washington Post reported last week.

Bill supporters say it gives employers “the legal certainty” to promote good health and lower health-care costs. They say that, as it is now, federal regulations make it difficult to offer these programs.

This bill, which would be big government run amok, is not the solution. It would allow employers to reward those who share their genetic info with deep cuts to their health-insurance costs, leaving those who don’t submit paying substantially more.

So employees would feel pressured to provide their existing genetic information, and possibly submit to genetic testing, or pay the price. That is neither right nor fair. Opponents, including writers to our letters page, are rightly raising heck over this bill that one House committee has already approved.

Read the full editorial from the Journal here.

Learn more about HR 1313 in The New York Times.

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