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Tourette Syndrome Association Applauds the Passage of Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
Date:4/24/2008

Long-Awaited Legislation Will Protect Against Healthcare and Employment Discrimination

BAYSIDE, N.Y., April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The national Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc. (TSA), hailed today's vote in the United States Senate approving comprehensive legislation, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), to ban genetic discrimination in health insurance and employment. The House of Representatives passed GINA in April 2007.

"TSA has worked alongside of the Genetic Alliance to call upon the Senate to support the procedural motions necessary to ensure the passage of this bill and today, we are very pleased with the passage of GINA in both the Senate and the House," said Judit Ungar, President of the Association. "For the past two decades TSA has been adamant in our support of patient rights and protection. The American people cannot afford to wait any longer for protection against genetic discrimination," she continued.

GINA (S. 358), would make it illegal for health insurers to raise premiums or deny coverage based on genetic information, and would prohibit employers from using such information for decisions on hiring, firing, promotions or job assignments. Genetic information, for the law's purposes, would include not only tests that determine variations in a person's DNA, but also a family history of a particular disease. But GINA does not prohibit discrimination once someone already has a disease, and some experts said such protection would have to be the next step. Passage of this initiative is crucial to ensuring the future of genetic research and the ability of all Americans to take advantage of genetic tests without fear that the information obtained will be used against them. "We attribute this historic victory to the bipartisan support for the bill. With each passing day, Congressional co-sponsors were being added to GINA, resulting with a record high roster of Congressional supporters, and we know it is due in part to TSA's Trips to the Hill, letters of support, and calls for action for GINA that have made such a difference. There is truly power in numbers," said Ms. Ungar.

TSA wishes to thank Congress for working to provide fundamental protections against the misuse of genetic information especially in health insurance coverage and employment situations. Especially, TSA acknowledges the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. Judy Biggert (R, IL), Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Edward Kennedy, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, for their leadership and efforts on this long standing and critical issue of importance. In addition, TSA expresses its gratitude to Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) for his views and support of GINA.

The Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA) is a membership driven, non-profit organization dedicated to providing comprehensive programs of education, research and personal services to all people who have Tourette Syndrome (TS) and their families. Marked by involuntary twitching and vocal tics, TS is an inherited, neurobiological disorder frequently misunderstood and misdiagnosed that affects more than 200,000 Americans. Celebrating over 36 years of service, TSA is a national voluntary organization that directs a network of 30 chapters, two regional offices and more than 150 support groups across the USA. For more information call 1-888-4-TOURET or visit http://tsa-usa.org.

CONTACT: Tracy Colletti-Flynn

718-224-2999

tracy.flynn@tsa-usa.org


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SOURCE Tourette Syndrome Association
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