Today the US House will pass a bill outlawing Genetic Discrimination for jobs or insurance. I've been waiting for this for a long time, ever since I saw GATTACA, actually.
You see, this has a bit of a personal meaning for me as I am a carrier for Beta-thallesemia intermedia, a genetic condition affecting the formation of the beta globin chain of hemoglobin. This means that I would be unable to get health insurance if I were buying it on my own due to a "pre-existing condition", despite the fact that it does not adversely affect my health in any significant way. (it is linked with iron storage which is quite common in the population anyway and not a significant problem). It was for this reason that I believe I have never been 'officially' diagnosed as having the disorder in hopes that I would not be rejected by insurers in the future.
I remember seeing GATTACA and having a realization that in a future world I, or my kids, could easily be subject to discrimination based on the fact that a single base pair among the millions in my DNA was switched. It has always bugged me, especially knowing that my father, a self employed farmer would be unable to purchase insurance were it not for my mothers job as a school teacher.
Unfortunately this bill doesn't really apply to me or my family as we have not had a genetic test to prove the mutation (my fathers generation of the family was part of a study published in NEJM back in the 70's which showed that our particular form was caused by a point mutation, being anonymous, however, means this doesn't really count as a genetic test). So, despite not being discriminated against for having a genetic abnormality I still would be considered to have a pre-existing condition and could be denied coverage.
We in this country need to get our heads out of our asses and realize that our healthcare system is unjust, immoral, and completely broken. How can you deny someone the right to insurance on the basis that they are sick? It's pathetic! Christian Nation my ass. WWJD? Kick the sick bastard to the curb while talking about turning the other cheek? Doubt it, I think he was known for healing the sick was he not?
Anyway, the debate is moot in my case right now. I have a good job and good insurance and my health is not affected by my thallessemia. Still, I feel for everyone who has cancer and can't get insurance. We need single payer healthcare and laws prohibiting the use pre-existingn conditions as grounds for denial fo insurance coverage. It is everyone's moral right to be treated when they are sick, yet without insurance most hospitals will not give you the care that you need.