All politics is fake. All of it is scripted by (((you know who.)))
In the battle to impose genetic testing on anyone who has a job, the Republicans are being portrayed as the bad guys, the Democrats the good guys.
It’s all Kabuki theater. It’s actors playing roles assigned to them.
The end game is wealth and power.
Here’s a new idea that is sure to enrich that certain group while allowing all manner of mischief to unfold as you either give your genes to them or pay a huge penalty.
A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information.
Giving employers such power is now prohibited by legislation including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a “workplace wellness” program.
The bill was approved by a House committee on Wednesday, with all 22 Republicans supporting it and all 17 Democrats opposed. It has been overshadowed by the debate over the House GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but the genetic testing bill is expected to folded into a second ACA-related measure containing a grab-bag of provisions that do not affect federal spending, as the main bill does.
“What this bill would do is completely take away the protections of existing laws,” said Jennifer Mathis, director of policy and legal advocacy at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, a civil rights group. In particular, privacy and other protections for genetic and health information in GINA and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act “would be pretty much eviscerated,” she said.
Employers say they need the changes because those two landmark laws are “not aligned in a consistent manner” with laws about workplace wellness programs, as an employer group said in congressional testimony last week.
Employers got virtually everything they wanted for their workplace wellness programs during the Obama administration. The ACA allowed them to charge employees 50 percent more for health insurance if they declined to participate in the “voluntary” programs, which typically include cholesterol and other screenings; health questionnaires that ask about personal habits including plans to get pregnant; and sometimes weight loss and smoking cessation classes.
And in rules that Obama’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued last year, a workplace wellness program counts as “voluntary” even if workers have to pay thousands of dollars more in premiums and deductibles if they don’t participate.
Despite those wins, the business community chafed at what it saw as the last obstacles to unfettered implementation of wellness programs: the genetic information and the disabilities laws. Both measures, according to congressional testimony last week by the American Benefits Council, “put at risk the availability and effectiveness of workplace wellness programs,” depriving employees of benefits like “improved health and productivity.” The Council represents Fortune 500 companies and other large employers that provide employee benefits. It did not immediately respond to questions about how lack of access to genetic information hampers wellness programs.
Rigorous studies by researchers not tied to the $8 billion wellness industry have shown that the programs improve employee health little if at all. An industry group recently concluded that they save so little on medical costs that, on average, the programs lose money. But employers continue to embrace them, partly as a way to shift more health care costs to workers, including by penalizing them financially.
The 2008 genetic law prohibits a group health plan — the kind employers have — from asking, let alone requiring, someone to undergo a genetic test. It also prohibits that specifically for “underwriting purposes,” which is where wellness programs come in. “Underwriting purposes” includes basing insurance deductibles, rebates, rewards, or other financial incentives on completing a health risk assessment or health screenings. In addition, any genetic information can be provided to the employer only in a de-identified, aggregated form, rather than in a way that reveals which individual has which genetic profile.
There is a big exception, however: as long as employers make providing genetic information “voluntary,” they can ask employees for it. Under the House bill, none of the protections for health and genetic information provided by GINA or the disabilities law would apply to workplace wellness programs. As a result, employers could demand that employers undergo genetic testing and health screenings.
Too many dark nightmare scenarios can be imagined as genetic testing is required. Jews own the medical and associated industries. Do you trust them with your DNA?