The Center Square reported on at the beginning of this month that Florida became the nation’s first state to enact a DNA privacy law, prohibiting life, disability and long-term care insurance companies from using genetic tests for coverage purposes. Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 1189, sponsored by Republican Representative Chris Sprowls. The bill extends federal prohibitions against health insurance providers accessing results from DNA tests, such as those offered by 23andMe or AncestryDNA, to the three other insurers. This bill does not stop individuals from volunteering their own genetic information from third-party tests to insurers, if they want.
This is an interesting move coming from conservatives, but I will take it nonetheless. I hope more states put measures like this in place or the Federal government steps up and puts broader protections in place for all citizens. At the very least, health insurance companies should have to ask consent of a citizen before purchasing their genetic data a DNA sequencing company.
A long time ago we were worried that governments would want access to this data, but it turns out that governments are now sitting up and protecting us from private companies that would take our genetic data and turn it into a profit model. I’m glad we are seeing protections like this, protections around facial recognition, and protections around mandatory RFID chipping come about. Although, I am still skeptical enough about these protections to ask, “Are they doing it because it’s the right thing for the citizen or is it because they could also be a victim of run away companies without these measures?”
This is straight out of the movie of Gattaca. In Gattaca, one of my favorite movies by the way, your life is determined by your helix. It determines what jobs you can have and having an unaltered genome can put limits on your upward mobility.
The good thing is that Federal law already prevents health insurers from accessing American’s genetic code for refusing coverage. Personally, I am not a fan of genetic screening companies. I find the whole thing creepy. I just don’t think there are enough controls in place. After the week Twitter has, I am leery of one insider going rouge and using this for blackmailing purposes. I wish there was oversight. Now, granted we have these authoritative bodies in the states and Europe, but I am not as confident in other countries harvesting this data and denying coverage for their populations. From an insurance standpoint it makes great business sense to charge more for predetermined conditions. Now granted, this wouldn’t be an issue if we had a just insurance system. I don’t this type of fear or blackmailing purpose would exist if we had Medicare for all. I hope more states follow suit. I don’t think politics has anything to do with this in this circumstance.