Political Economy, Stakeholder Voices, and Saliency: Lessons From International Policies Regulating Insurer Use of Genetic Information
Forthcoming in Journal of Law and the Biosciences
56 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2019
Date Written: January 29, 2019
A decade ago, Congress passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), with the goals to address fear of genetic discrimination and prevent adverse health insurance and employment decisions on the basis of one’s genetic information. Yet, fear of discrimination remains because other insurers, notably life, long-term care, and disability insurers, are not covered by the law. Therefore, there have been persistent murmurings for a “GINA 2.0” to extend the protections of the original law. Although it is plausible to assume that the insurance industry has the political economy to control future regulation, given the saliency of genetic discrimination, other stakeholders and bureaucrats may have greater influence. This paper explores the history of policy in four countries — the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, and Canada. Each country provides examples of continued policy debate and change following an initial period of reliance on insurance industry self-regulation, with change generally occurring over the objection of the insurance industry. This article argues that US insurers, regulators, and stakeholders should negotiate a consensus solution for insurer use of genetic information that balances between social and economic considerations. The international landscape provides a myriad of examples of policies that have been employed to meet these goals.
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