back to article Force employees to take DNA tests for bosses? We've got a new law to make that happen, beam House Republicans

Amid the attention on the new US administration's healthcare plan, a law has been proposed that would force employees to hand over their genetic information if they want company health insurance. House bill HR 1313, dubbed the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, was introduced by Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and …

  1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    GATTACA

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      When I was a kid I couldn't wait for the movies to become real life

      Unfortunately the movies I wanted were "Star Wars" and "Star Trek", and the ones coming true are "1984", "Brazil" and "Gattaca"...

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: When I was a kid I couldn't wait for the movies to become real life

        The Handmaid's Tale ... coming soon to your State.

    2. Unicornpiss Silver badge

      @GATTACA

      You beat me to it.

      Disgusting. And if employers are prohibited against discriminating based on the results (hopefully), then why collect it at all?

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: @GATTACA

        @Unicornpiss

        So the companies can help the unfortunate employees with extra pay and medical cover. Oops - that would discrimination against the healthy.

        There is no prize, none, nada, zilch for correctly guessing which side of the line this will fall.

        1. Tomato42 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: @GATTACA

          @Trigonoceps occipitalis. I suggest you look up the following terms: "empathy", "humane" and "golden rule".

          Just because somebody is sick doesn't mean that he cannot have overall positive impact on the society. Also, we're talking about helping fellow humans!

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: @GATTACA

            *cough* Stephen Hawking *cough*

            1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: @GATTACA

              Straight to the Gas-Bus in an alternate reality. I think we want to steer well clear of that reality.

              That was the best (only good?) sub-plot in Man in the Tower, BTW.

          2. evilhippo

            Re: @GATTACA

            " I suggest you look up the following terms: "empathy", "humane" and "golden rule"."

            The actual issues here are "who pays for someone's health issues?" & "are they allowed to actually assess the risks they are agreeing to underwrite?". The money has to come from somewhere.

            1. Triggerfish

              Re: @GATTACA

              Fuck me after looking a some of the reasonings on here by some people on why this is a good thing. I'm glad we have the NHS, none of this bollocks.

        2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

          Re: @GATTACA

          6:1 against me. I didn't make myself clear and if I offended anyone I apologise. Collection of DNA by companies is only OK if they are under a remit to help those unfortunate to be discovered harbouring a genetic disease, or disposition to disease, beyond that given to the fortunate majority. With power comes responsibility.

          Any and all excuses will be proffered as to why a company should only take the benefit, I offered only one. If I was not able to impart my views that is a fault in my use of English.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: @GATTACA

            "Collection of DNA by companies is only OK if they are under a remit to help those unfortunate to be discovered harbouring a genetic disease, or disposition to disease, beyond that given to the fortunate majority."

            Why on earth should a company be doing this?

            They may pay for it as a benefit, but they shouldn't ever get access to the data.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Unicornpiss Re: @GATTACA

        ".....And if employers are prohibited against discriminating based on the results (hopefully), then why collect it at all?" Ah, yet again it seems the average El Reg poster falls for the emotional, "Big Bad Business" response, probably due to a failure to understand how risk assessment and the cost of covering risk impacts businesses. In the US, when a company takes on an employee and gives them healthcare insurance, they buy that insurance from another company. The cost of that insurance purchase is based on several factors, the most important being the relative risk of the insured party. How much medical info they have on the insured party allows them to make an accurate risk assessment, otherwise they have to assume a worst case and the insurance cost is higher. The higher the overall insurance cost for all employees, the less people the company can afford to hire.

        Think of it as if you owned a nice, new, reliable, safe and secure family car, but when you went to insure it the car insurance company said it had to be insured as if it were a classic Ferrari because the law said they were not allowed to ask you about your car, and there is a statistical likelihood that it could be a classic Ferrari. Sure, it's great news if you do own a Ferrari as the rest of us are subsidising you, but not so great for the vast majority of us. Suddenly, the cost of car insurance becomes a dominant factor it how many cars you can afford to buy, or whether you can even afford to buy one at all.

        And before the SJWs start the predictable whining about "discrimination against disabled people", history shows companies have been willing to take on that added risk and cost when those disabled people have the required skills. But having to ensure all employees as if they might have the same genetic predisposition to certain diseases as a minority of employees is actually discrimination against the majority. The SJWs can downvote as they please, it probably satisfies their desire for emotion over reason, but it doesn't change the facts.

        1. Tomato42 Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Unicornpiss @GATTACA

          @Matt Bryant: so that's how a sociopath thinks

          your kid has a genetic defect? sorry, can't have an abortion

          he's unemployable because he has a genetic defect and will be a constant drain on parent's resources? sucks to be you

          seriously, look up empathy

          1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: Unicornpiss @GATTACA

            "he's unemployable because he has a genetic defect"

            LOL - I misread that as "he's employable because he has a genetic defect" and immediately thought of the X-Men ... could this be the real reason for DNA testing?

          2. strum

            unemployable because he has a genetic defect

            Thing is - most 'genetic defects' are only _potential_ diseases. Someone with a genetic 'defect' may live out a full & healthy life. It usually requires some other epi-genetic arrangement (or environmental circumstance) to turn that genetic code into an illness.

            Not only is this measure immeasurably evil, it's also futile.

        2. JimC

          Re: Unicornpiss @GATTACA @Matt Bryant

          The trouble is, as you well know, insurance works by distributing risk. The end result is the majority of people who turned out to be lucky subsidise the minority of people who turned out to be unlucky. If you restrict insurance cover only to those who are going to turn out to be lucky then the lucky folk pay out a little bit less but the unlucky don't get insurance at all. That might be considered fairer by the lucky ones, but given sufficient granularity it stops being insurance at all.

          All insurance is about the rest of us subsidising the ones who need the payouts, that's the whole point of the exercise.

          If all cars had to be insured at the same rate then the cost would not, as you very well know, be the same as that of a classic Ferrari driven by a 19 year old. It would be the cost of the average of all the policies, and probably, especially if the insurance companies had plenty of power to refuse cover to 19 years olds in classic Ferraris, not that far off the average of all premiums paid now.

        3. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: Bryant @GATTACA

          There is what I would consider a fatal flaw in your argument: there is a difference in between what you are and what you do. They are asking for genetic information - that's not something you can change. Think of it like having, oh maybe black skin.

          Now if they were asking if you smoke or run 5 miles every day or eat at McDonald's, that would be ok - that's behaviour that can be changed.

          Let's take the information request to the extreme. If we had perfect information about health problems and behaviour, we wouldn't have insurance. Everyone would just be paying for themselves because we would have precise premiums which match circumstances.

          In this case, we are creating a class of people who are uninsurable because no-one will want to take on the risk. So they get no healthcare. The genetic analysis may even be wrong but there's no harm to the companies in jacking up the prices or excluding them completely. Who think big data produces accurate relevant results for every data point?

          The family car vs Ferrari argument doesn't hold water with health insurance unless you think that some humans are expendable and others should be preserved at great cost.

          That's why the government should be providing healthcare. The market doesn't do it well. It may turn a profit, but universal service provision is not something markets do well.

          ... and we haven't even touched on whether its a good idea to have a large database identifying all the Semites. Was one of your grandparents from a Muslim country? Do we have some "extreme vetting" and a "travel plan" for you!

        4. Oengus Silver badge

          Re: Unicornpiss @GATTACA

          Think of it as if you owned a nice, new, reliable, safe and secure family car, but when you went to insure it the car insurance company said it had to be insured as if it were a classic Ferrari because the law said they were not allowed to ask you about your car

          When I insure the family car I insure it for ~$30,000-$50,000. When I insure the classic Ferrari I insure it for $300,000-$500,000. Based on classic car insurance I have it is actually cheaper per dollar insured to insure the classic car than the family car. This is because statistically the chance of having to pay out on the classic car insurance is lower than the family car.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Unicornpiss @GATTACA

            @Oengus exactly. The family car will probably drive 20 - 30,000 miles a year, heck, when I was working in the UK, I was doing around 60,000 a year, as I was always working on client sites a long way from home.

            The insurance on my classic car, which did less than 2,000 miles a year (which is a lot for many classic cars!) was a pitance, compared to what I was paying for my "normal" car (VW Passat).

        5. WaveyDavey

          Re: Unicornpiss @GATTACA

          The moment you used the term SJW against people who think this is an awful idea, you defined yourself as an emapthy-lacking little shitstain. I do wish El Reg allowed blocking certain posters from view.

        6. john fisher 1

          Re: Unicornpiss @GATTACA

          Sadly, the logic is true. In similar fashion, if I were running a health insurance company in US why in hell would I want to insure a patient with a preexisting condition knowing he or she could cost me a bundle? This logic ignores the elephant in the room: the FOR PROFIT healthcare system. In my opinion, shameful in this day and age.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: Unicornpiss @GATTACA

            In the US doctors are ridiculously overpayed (what are they, som kind of Gods?). And they need extremely expensive liability insurances as well. (Despite being semigods.)

            So goddam inefficient that it's a travesty.

            But if you can afford the heallthcare, it's supposedly quite good.

        7. FuzzyTheBear
          Boffin

          Re: Unicornpiss @GATTACA

          US health system is the worst in the dang universe.No money you die.( i saw it while living in the USA ) Look at civilised countries , we ALL offer healthcare to everyone .There's no company that needs to provide anything , teeth work in some places but we don't need to disclose anything to anyone.

          Want to repel a headache having to do all this administrative bullshit in company ? .. National Universal Health Care Works for countless countries and billion + individuals.

          At leasy we don't let people die because of lack of coverage. Which you do everyday by the hundreds.

          We dont take the uninsured mental patients in an ambulance dropping them at a park to get rid of them.

          One thing Americans must start to understand is compassion and that each of them have a responsibility to another. That last one , they will never understand.

        8. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Missing the point 4 matt bryant

          Well, if we are going to lecture about missing the point, none of the countries that deliver better health care for less money than we do in the USA requires genetic data to get there.

          Just not treating the wants of the insurance industry above the needs of the people seems to work well.

          But if you are bound and determined to have as many middle men between the patient and doctor as possible, I suppose this plan makes sense.

          Oh wait ... no it doesn't. It would appear to be a massive breach of the unreasonable search and seizure statutes that go all the way back to the Constitution.

        9. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Unicornpiss @GATTACA

          "Suddenly, the cost of car insurance becomes a dominant factor it how many cars you can afford to buy, or whether you can even afford to buy one at all."

          i think you'll find noone's insurance costs will be reduced by way of removing the higher risk individuals form the group insurance policy.

          what will happen is the insurance company will make more money. you will still be paying the same for your premium. those with a genetic disorder will be paying more.

          what you're literally arguing in favour for is the insurance company to take on less risk. you as an individual, stand to gain nothing. unless you own shares in the insurance industry, you're nothing more than a convenient fool.

        10. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Unicornpiss @GATTACA

          @ Matt Bryant

          Can we just simply agree that the US system is utter sh*te?

    3. TitterYeNot
      Facepalm

      Yes, GATTACA, rumoured to be named after the genetic sequence: Guanine-Adenine-Thymine-Thymine-Adenine-Cytosine-Adenine

      Back in 2003 I listened in awe as it was announced that the 'Human Genome Project', an international collaboration of genetics research teams, had achieved its 15 year goal of sequencing the active parts of the whole human genome with 99.99% accuracy for the first time.

      Imagine the possibilities I thought, given that gene therapy was an up-and-coming thing at the time. The eventual end to genetic conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis, Huntington’s Disease, Sickle Cell Anemia, some forms of Muscular Dystrophy, pre-disposition to malignant breast cancers and heart disease etc. etc. etc.

      And what's the first mainstream use of this technology? Cutting the cost for insurance companies, ensuring that those who need the most healthcare, through no fault of their own, are least able to afford it.

      Stuff the 'Valids'. I'm with the 'In-Valids' on this one, though I guess that's the whole point of the film...

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Facepalm

        "you're doing it wrong" [meme]

        THIS is yet another case where the "you're doing it wrong" meme applies.

        They're NOT supposed to INCREASE gummint intervention in people's private lives. Obaka-"care" has done WAY too much of that already. These idiots should STOP calling themselves 'Republicans', or else just shut the 'FEEL' up and get out of the way!

        Washington D.C., where ANY level of power, absolute or not, (eventually) corrupts absolutely

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: "you're doing it wrong" [meme]

          They're NOT supposed to INCREASE gummint intervention in people's private lives

          But you are perfectly happy to let employers intervene in peoples' private lives? It's vanishingly small they they are doing it for the sake of the employee.

          Washington D.C., where ANY level of power, absolute or not, (eventually) corrupts absolutely

          I think you are limiting things too far. At least (in WDC) you have a *small* chance[1] that things are being done for the good of mankind. In business, not so much. Profit is their God, money they worship. People are merely disposable units.

          [1] On the "D" side of the isle anyway. A much smaller chance on the "R" side by all appearances.

      2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        It defeats the whole purpose of having an insurance system in the first place.

    4. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      re: GATTACA

      Also, Black Mirror's "Men against Fire" episode.

    5. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: anonymous boring coward

      "GATTACA" (Yawn) Knee-jerk response much?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remind me again - the Republicans are the party that believes an individual should be free to live their life without interference from the state?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      nope, I believe they're the ones saying everyone should carry a gun

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        The two things combine quite nicely

        How wonderful that you had a gun related accident and you happen to have the correct genotype to ensure that your liver is not rejected when transplanted into one of the party sponsors.

        1. John Gamble
          Boffin

          Re: The two things combine quite nicely

          How wonderful that you can make up preposterous scenarios.

          (Here's a clue: If you're shot, the first thing the surgeon is not going to do is perform a liver transplant. And oddly enough, matching candidates for livers doesn't require instantaneous matching of genotype. Why, you'd almost think medicine had advanced enough to keep people alive while performing what are now routine tests.)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And this bill shows you why it's a good idea.

    2. Someone Else Silver badge
      Big Brother

      No. that's what they say, but as we have come to learn, the Republican Party is also the party of lying sumbitches, and evidenced by its new, titular head.

      1. s2bu

        @Someone Else

        Please. Both parties (actually ALL politicians for that matter!) are lying scumbags. I'm pretty that it's in the job description somewhere...

        1. Tomato42 Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: @Someone Else

          @s2bu: everybody lies. There is no person on earth that didn't lie even once. Even infants feign crying

          to get attention or food.

          The difference is in the amount and the motives for the lies.

          Republicans lie much more and they lie just to get more corporate kickbacks *ekhm* I mean, "campaign contributions". I mean, just look at the whole Global Warming thing, the new EPA chief doesn't even accept that CO2 forces heating. And the whole party line is not far from it.

          Paris Hilton as she has more appreciation for basic facts than the whole (R) party combined.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: @Someone Else

            "the new EPA chief doesn't even accept that CO2 forces heating"

            You just HAD to bring that one up. <facepalm>

            2 words: It doesn't. That is because CO2 doesn't have the absorption spectrum for infrared light to work "that way". Look it up if you don't believe me.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Drain the swamp?

      Seems like they are pumping more muck into it all the time, letting corporate lobbyists completely control their agenda. At least Hillary was only owned by Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Trump and his buddies are owned by everyone else.

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: Drain the swamp?

        I think that anyone who uses this phrase (non-ironically) should see the film "Ikiru".

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      True: the Republican Party categorically will not interfere in individuals' freedoms

      as they've outsourced that action to the best-contributing lobbyist

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wellllll

      Yes, but lining up organ donors for the C Suite is greatly enhanced by DNA matching.

      Hopefully this one died a quick death.

    6. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "Remind me again - the Republicans are the party that believes an individual should be free to live their life without interference from the state?"

      And they're REMOVING state interference. They're doing nothing about PRIVATE interference, though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "And they're REMOVING state interference. "

        The State is intent on passing the enabling bill.

    7. Old Handle

      To be fair, an employer is not a state.

      Except when they are, of course...

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No,

      the Republicans are the party that believes the State is infallible (at least when it's locking people up, executing them, spying on them, or generally interfering in what they might have thought was their private life.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No,

        Sorry, but Snowden happened under Obama.

        I'll give you the rest though!

        1. mics39

          Re: No,

          But Snowden's exposé would have been even more damning and juicier under the present regime.

    9. LDS Silver badge

      "live their life without interference from the state?"

      From the State yes, but not interference from the corporations, of course.

    10. s2bu

      @AC

      Nope. That's the Libertarian Party.

    11. Darth.0

      "Remind me again - the Republicans are the party that believes an individual should be free to live their life without interference from the state?"

      Except when it comes to reproductive rights, that's when the state should step in, that is at least with this version of the Republican party.

  3. The_Idiot

    During the process, Democratic Party members tried to introduce a number of amendments to the legislation, including:

    Employees' health information could not be sold.

    Family members should not be asked for their genetic information.

    Employers should be prohibited from discriminating based on the results.

    So. Based on the voting pattern demonstrated, the Republican members appear to want to preserve options for employers and health insurance providers to sell health information, demand family member genetic information and discriminate based on genetic testing results. Because, of course, all of those points 'deliver more choice for working families.'

    Yes - and I suppose offering your next mugging victim a choice between a bullet in the head or a blade in his back 'delivers more choice.' Whether that makes it a Good Thing(tm) is a rather different question.

    Sigh...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thanks to the laser-like precision of gene testing

      I can tell that this employee is a ... WOMAN!

      Thank goodness the Republicans will preserve my ability to use the test results for discrimination - otherwise I might have to pay lip-service to the Equal Pay Act.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Thanks to the laser-like precision of gene testing

        It save them the trouble of getting Big John to drop his pants so that we can check that he's going to the right bathroom.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Those three points are most reasonable. Not sell, not discriminate, and leave family out of it. WTF are the Repubs thinking? Or maybe it's "who's paying them off so that our DNA info can be sold off"? Is there some LEA that will want this for a national database?

      Thank <$DEITY> that I'm retired. But I do expect that at some point this might be applied to Medicare... "Oh.. you're high risk. You need to pay X times more."

      A pox on them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Do you think the bill is acceptable WITH the amendments?

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          NO it isn't but the amendments would pretty much gut the bill. My government is running amok and just saying "no" isn't stopping the stupidity and intrusiveness. I shudder to think where we'll be after a couple of years of this shit since they're just getting started.

          Then again, in two years, it's possible that the two big parties' Congressional candidates will be facing independent or 3rd party candidates who might be able to beat them on election day. But, hope of that happening is fleeting.

      2. Trey Pattillo

        Stop...

        giving the moron congress-critters any more dipstick ideas.

        1. mics39

          Re: Stop...

          Stop that folksy critter nonsense. Fuckwit Americans voted in these cretins that are lack any conscience. Now truly reap what you sow, eh?

          But what about the rest of the world?

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: Stop...

            ""By empowering employers to adopt employee wellness programs, we can take a positive step toward lowering health care costs and promoting a healthy workforce," said Representative Bradley Byrne"

            I'm surprised he didn't need instant healthcare himself after spewing out such a humongous steaming pile of bullshit.

            In other news, people gladly give away their eyeballs* in exchange for chocolate bars.

            *or was that passwords? I forget (I gave half my brain away for a chocolate bar last week).

  4. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Someone told Trump that you can spot a Muslim by their DNA so he's getting his cronies to go for it.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      I like how you brilliant avoided mention IBM and Nazis. Well done.

  5. lnLog
    Facepalm

    More from the land of the free...

    to die from painful and debilitating easily curable diseases, free to die in poverty, free to discriminate based on appearance, melanin density, etc...

    Could be a good version of 'what have the Romans ever done for us?'

  6. LDS Silver badge

    Sure it will lower employer costs and promote an healthy workforce...

    ... because everybody with a minimal risk will be fired.

    Why this kind of selection reminds me something very nasty?

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Big Brother

      Why this kind of selection reminds me something very nasty?

      Because it is?

    2. Ian Michael Gumby

      @LDS ... Re: Sure it will lower employer costs and promote an healthy workforce...

      Had to down vote you.

      Minimal Risk means you want them. High risk you want to fire.

      It doesn't work. It hurts the company in the long run.

      Just like firing your older workers and replacing them with young 'ins. (Millennials.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @LDS ... Sure it will lower employer costs and promote an healthy workforce...

        No, they want to keep the ones with NEGLIGIBLE or NO risk. Minimal risk is too risky in an overpopulated world.

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: LDS Re: Sure it will lower employer costs and promote an healthy workforce...

      "... because everybody with a minimal risk will be fired....." Well, statistically speaking, the most certain employee healthcare cost risk (as in highest statistical probability of occurrence and medical cost) is that a female employee will get pregnant and give birth during her time of employment. This risk is even greater as it adds an associated cost of finding a replacement due to the likelihood the new mother will not return to work (not in every case, but still a statistical risk). That risk can be calculated through publicly available data, and is already included in insurance companies' calculations for healthcare costs. We already have laws that deal with discrimination against women very effectively, so pretending existing laws against discrimination based on genetics will somehow be invalidated by giving the insurance companies the ability to more accurately calculate the genetic health risks of employees is simply unreasoning hogwash. Or do you want to pretend there are no female employees in America?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: LDS Sure it will lower employer costs and promote an healthy workforce...

        @Matt Bryant

        For a company, pregnancies are not "a risk". They completely depend on them.

        Unless you don't quite realize that precisely 100% (one hundred percent, I'm neither rounding this up nor making it up) of those companies' customers exist because, at some point, a woman got pregnant.

        *sigh*

        It's not like I have any hope of you toning down the scaremongering and arguing that corporations exist in a vacuum, completely independent of the societies that surround them :/

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: LDS Sure it will lower employer costs and promote an healthy workforce...

          >For a company, pregnancies are not "a risk". They completely depend on them.

          Too imprecise.

          Your own employees getting pregnant is a cost risk. What you want is to externalise that cost and have other companies' employees get pregnant.

          However, if this is entering your thought process, you are probably either in a business which is failing anyway or you think you are contributing to the business when really you are hastening its downfall by pushing policies that ensure all your employees hate you.

        2. thomn8r

          Re: LDS Sure it will lower employer costs and promote an healthy workforce...

          Unless you don't quite realize that precisely 100% (one hundred percent, I'm neither rounding this up nor making it up) of those companies' customers exist because, at some point, a woman got pregnant.

          Which is perfectly fine - as long as it's some other company's employees that get knocked up.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: LDS Sure it will lower employer costs and promote an healthy workforce...

            "those companies' customers exist because, at some point, a woman got pregnant."

            I'm almost certain that is is true for the entire company and its directors, as well.

      2. Count Ludwig

        Re: LDS Sure it will lower employer costs and promote an healthy workforce...

        If you give men and women the same parental leave there is no reason to discriminate based on sex. It might make cause you to discriminate in favour of older workers though, or gay ones.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Sure it will lower employer costs and promote an healthy workforce...

      how about if we just divorce the idea of 'medical insurance' from 'employer' and let people just buy whatever they want to? That might include NOT going with an insurer at all, or go with one who doesn't do DNA screening.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll pay the extra.

    There is no way in hell that I will fall for this carrot and stick routine. Resist and refuse. Paying more now to protect that info will be a worthwhile investment.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: I'll pay the extra.

      That assumes you get a choice in the matter...

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Intersting to see what are the *real* priorites of this government.

    I've worked for US companies whose stated aim was to eliminate any employee (or potential employee) who had smoked in the last 5 years.

    I have peed into a cup to do so. The spectrum covered 12 major classes of drugs, but the tester said they can do about 24 (if a company pays of course). This is was not some kind of national security role, just a fairly normal service company.

    Because in the US being able to die of preventable and treatable diseases is viewed as "Freedom."

    1. Ian Michael Gumby
      Boffin

      Re: Intersting to see what are the *real* priorites of this government.

      If the HR policy says that your employment is based on passing a mandatory drug screening or that they can do a random drug test, you're fair game. If they added it after you were employed and then made it conditional of your employment, you can go after them thru the EEOC.

      There's more things that they did in an effort to try and become 'healthier' in order to reduce their insurance costs. Like weight ....

      All it takes is a good trial lawyer to get a case certified as class action and the company melts.

      This is why I run my own shop and it only takes two people to be a group for group insurance.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Intersting to see what are the *real* priorites of this government.

        But if you offer an incentivising discount for healthier lifestyle choices, like biometric swipe-card RFID proven access to and use of gym equipment / exercise record, keeping off the booze and fags, submitting your shopping records so that you can show you buy at least 10 fruit and veg a day for every member of your family... well, that's just good practice, isn't it? As is not having the full English in the staff canteen (mind you the full American of pancakes, maple syrup, bacon, hash browns, fried mushrooms and infinite coffee is probably worse).

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Intersting to see what are the *real* priorites of this government.

          I once took a contract at BT and it was a fairly boiler plate affair (pre ir35) but it clearly stated that I was agreeing to random drug tests.

          Since I don't do drugs (tests) I had them remove that clause - it surprised them only because no-one had ever even asked before (why was I not surprised).

          It isn't like they ever actually *had* random drugs tests though, I was just making a point. Used to be good fun winding up my contractor colleagues who had been raving and sitting in a chillout tent the weekend before by telling them that they were conducting tests on the first floor and that they would be doing our section later that day - everyone except for me of course ;)

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Dwarf Silver badge

    Kinda misses the point

    Given that you don't get a choice in your DNA and that health cover is supposed to be the insurance for those who were dealt the unlucky genes, then this completely misses the whole purpose of providing health cover and at the same time it tramples on so many privacy issues.

    You can see the next evolution would be something like we won't treat sick people as that's costing too much money.

    The other minor detail that seems to be glossed over is that a risk of having health problem X is not the same as having health problem X. Don't forget that we all have a 100% probability of dying !

    1. ST Silver badge

      Re: Kinda misses the point

      > [...] we won't treat sick people as that's costing too much money

      This has always been the Republican position on health care, retirement, any kind of government social safety services, etc, in the US of A, for over 40 years.

      The sick, the elderly and the poor do not deserve health insurance, or health care, because they were careless, or genetically inferior enough to get sick. Or, if they aren't sick already, they might get sick soon.

      Chidren don't deserve health insurance because (a) their parents should pay for their children's expenses and (b) if the parents can't afford it, they should get a better paying job.

      When they retire, old people choose not to work. So, they can't get paid. That 401(k) or pension plan they saved for their entire life? Oh, yeah, it blew up and went up in smoke. We played with derivatives. And then we decided to take the money anyway and pay ourselves a nice chunk of bonuses. If the elderly want to get paid, they can always get back to work. Once they get back to work they can pay for their doctors and treatments from their own pocket. Or they can buy a super-expensive health insurance plan that doesn't cover anything. Yeah, that's the better option: buy a super-expensive and useless health insurance plan first, and then pay from your pocket anyway. It's the American Way[tm].

      Health insurance is only for young, healthy people. Their monthly premiums are a valuable contribution to the US economy, and to the bottom line of so many nice, giant insurance companies.

      This way, we can cut taxes for the top 1% richest people in the world.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Kinda misses the point

        Odd that a party that doesn't believe in evolution is trying to selectively breed for being rich

        1. cimbricus

          Re: Kinda misses the point

          They still believe in Social Darwinism of course.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "They still believe in Social Darwinism of course."

            Of course.

            Because their great-great-great-grand father proved he was superior that naturally translates down to Junior. the attitude of the British upper classes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (as Michael Creighton pointed out on the subject of eugenics, a word I only knew from the Wrath of Khan episode of Star Trek).

            Yeah.

            Do Americans still bleat on about having a classless society?

            The only ones I can believe who would still have that idea would be people capable of a very high level of self delusion or membership of the top 1% (or both).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "They still believe in Social Darwinism of course."

              the attitude of the British upper classes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

              Maybe. But isn't Trump of the finest Teutonic stock? I'm pleased he's not making out that he's got any British ancestry. And he certainly seems to follow the Austrian school of political communications*.

              * Yes, I plead guilty as charged under Godwin's law. But so should Erdogan, in other news.

              1. Tom 38 Silver badge

                Re: "They still believe in Social Darwinism of course."

                Maybe. But isn't Trump of the finest Teutonic stock? I'm pleased he's not making out that he's got any British ancestry.

                Unfortunately...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Kinda misses the point

        Some archconservatives would rather we repealed the law enacted in 1985 that required emergency rooms to admit patients regardless of ability to pay. Then it would be back to charity hospitals and people dying on the streets, keeping the population down and lowering the life expectancy so fewer people went on Medicare or stayed there for long. You can't afford to save yourself? DIE and make room for those who can? Oh, your child has sickle cell? Take the Spartan way out; leave him to die and try again? Oh, the wife died in childbirth? You have failed as parents; shoot yourself now. Life's hard and then you die.

      3. Ian Michael Gumby
        Boffin

        @ST Re: Kinda misses the point

        Man, you have a really warped view of the world as well as healthcare.

        You must be in the UK where the NHS is broken and you have a two tier system. Those only on NHS and those who have a supplemental insurance or those who can afford to pay cash.

        You have to realize that under the ACA not everyone has coverage or can afford coverage. You can make too much money to get any discounts, and/or the remaining balance would be more than you could afford.

        Prior to the ACA, each state would create funds for risk pools for those who couldn't get insurance. Also there was medicaid. And if you had group insurance you couldn't be denied coverage.

        You have no clue about health insurance.

        Obamacare/ACA is in a death spiral and is collapsing. No point in having a health care market when you have no insurance companies willing to provide coverage at a loss. Removing ACA is the best thing Trump and Congress can do.

        Replacing it with something... that's the hard part because Obama did way to much damage, which was his plan in the first place.

        1. ST Silver badge

          Re: @ST Kinda misses the point

          > You must be in the UK where the NHS is broken and you have a two tier system.

          Wrong. I live in the US.

          > You have no clue about health insurance.

          Actually, I do, as I live in the US, and I buy health insurance from my employer. Have done so for a bit more than two decades. I have also worked in finance for 10+ years and I have a working understanding of probability and statistics, based on having written code dealing with these subject matters. In a state that has had a statutory mandate prohibiting rescissions, or denial of coverage, based on pre-existing conditions, for two decades before the ACA was even drafted.

          So, no, I don't need you or Matt Bryant telling me what I do or do not know.

          Prior to the ACA, risk-pool health insurance was too expensive to be affordable. It also carried too many exclusions to be worth anything. That made it equivalent to non-existent.

          Prior to the ACA, Medicaid was simply not available to a significant percentage of those who needed it. That made it equivalent to non-existent. The ACA expanded Medicaid making it available to low-income individuals and families.

          Prior to the ACA, one could be denied coverage based on any pretext the insurance company would come up with. The insurance company could deny treatments, medical procedures, or tests. Look up the word rescission.

          Prior to the ACA, there was a yearly, and lifetime cap, on health coverage payouts, per person.

          There are many problem with the current ACA, as passed by Congress. The cost of prescription medicine is one of them. Medicare and Medicaid have a statutory prohibition on negotiating the prices of FDA-approved drugs within US borders.

          Which translates to FDA-approved drugs costing 100 more in the US than in Canada, UK, France, Germany, Brazil, Italy, etc. The ACA did not solve this problem, because the ACA, in its current form, is too beholden to the Big Pharma companies.

          Stop your clueless parroting of Republican talking points. There's enough of that on TV and in the news already.

          Alternatively, why don't you get a job as a health insurance company lobbyist. You seem to have a natural predisposition for it. In this professional capacity, you would find a very receptive audience for your beliefs within a certain segment of current GOP Congresscritters.

          1. Ian Michael Gumby
            Boffin

            @ST ... Re: @ST Kinda misses the point

            Son,

            1) I am licensed to sell health insurance. (Yeah really. )

            2) I purchase health insurance for my corporation.

            3) Back in the 90's when you were still in diapers, I purchased individual plans when you could and had to deal with the limited plans that were available.

            Again, you really don't know the half of it. Talk to hospital administrators and the problems that ACA created for those in small practices.

            1. ST Silver badge

              Re: @ST ... @ST Kinda misses the point

              > I am licensed to sell health insurance. (Yeah really.)

              Oooh, you're an insurance salesman? Do you go door-to-door?

              That explains everything. Lies, deceit and bullshit are the basis of your income earning ability.

              Selling insurance doesn't imply that you understand how insurance works. Clearly you do not. The only qualification required to sell insurance is being able to lie with a straight face, and without displaying any signs of stress.

              Thank you for confirming what I had suspected all along.

        2. Cris E

          Re: @ST Kinda misses the point

          Wait, who doesn't know insurance?

          ACA was intended to make insurance possible for people who chose to go for it. You can complain about premium increases or making too much money, but honestly what the ACA did was a vast improvement for tens of millions of people. The only real problem was the incentives to get healthy people off the sidelines were too low. The new plan offered by Republicans reduces the subsidies to the poor, increases them to the affluent who don't need them, and and decreases the incentives for healthy people to get in the pool.

          And risk pools are awful. Not sure where you're from, but my state had one that featured unpayable premiums and stratospheric levels of subsidy to stay solvent. Those subsidies came from... fees levied against the health plans of the healthy. The latest Trump plan will leave craters in the budgets of any insurance company dumb enough to try running a high risk pool since the proposed supports are laughably below anticipated costs to run such pools.

          The ACA attempted to do things better but was only passed after running a gauntlet of hostile legislators intent on sabotaging it rather than dragging it toward some agreed upon middle ground. Replacement is difficult because instead of focusing on finding something that works the new administration's first goal is to not do anything like the current incarnation regardless of its value. That makes it harder than it should be, and for some really pretty partisan reasons.

  11. Ian Michael Gumby
    Boffin

    Won't past muster.

    It would violate HIPPA.

    As others point out, it would allow employers to check for hereditary risk for diseases like cancer and some how disqualify a candidate. Its a lawsuit waiting to happen. There's more but that's a start.

    1. DNTP

      Re: Won't past muster.

      They'll either gut HIPPA, or more likely simply force employees to waive their HIPPA rights as a condition of employment/enrollment.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Won't past muster.

        HIPAA is non-waivable much as ADA isn't, but this Act will create loopholes.

    2. ST Silver badge

      Re: Won't past muster.

      > [ ... ] check for hereditary risk for diseases like cancer and some how disqualify a candidate.

      The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 prevents discrimination based on genetic information and/or makeup. However, it opens a loophole: that the genetic information is somehow available to the employer.

      So, the reason why person XYZ did not get the job is not because of their genetic makeup. That would be illegal. It's because 23 years ago, when XYZ was a junior in college, they bounced a USD $8.51 check to the video rental store, and that shows they aren't a responsible and trustworthy person.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby

        @ST Re: Won't past muster.

        That's the problem.

        There are so many reasons why and how this data can be abused.

        And yes, its so easy to say that you chose another candidate for over half a dozen reasons and there's no way to prove any sort of trend in terms of hiring without exposing a privacy issue of all applicants.

        This goes back to the late 80's and aids scare and why there needs to be medical records privacy.

  12. find users who cut cat tail

    > If they want company health insurance.

    What? Why would anyone need (or even want) that? The more I learn about the US healthcare system, the less I understand.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      It's confusing because there is no care nor system.

    2. Orv Silver badge

      Company plans are the only way to get good group insurance. The individual health insurance market tends to be more expensive, have worse coverage, and (pre-ACA) pretty much refused to cover you if you had any kind of pre-existing medical condition. A lot of the expense is due to adverse selection -- employer plans cover everyone at the company and so get healthy people in the pool paying in more than they take out, but only sick people tend to buy private insurance.

      One side effect of this is genetic testing has traditionally been a bad idea, since if it turned up something negative it could make you un-insurable. Ignorance was safer.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby
        Boffin

        @Orv

        Actually no.

        There are a couple of ways to become a member of group healthcare.

        The IEEE used to offer health insurance for its members. They stopped because only older members would take advantage of it because most of the younger members were getting their coverage from their employers who also paid a portion of the insurance if not all of it. Chambers of Commerce used to offer the same thing, some may still do. The problem is that each of these groups are in their own risk pool such that it can get expensive for members because the insurance companies still have to make a profit. (Note: Their profits are limited and they must spend at least a certain percentage of their premium incomes. )

        IEEE stopped doing this in the 90's because the premiums became to expensive.

        If you're an independent, you can make your wife or significant other an employee and pay them a salary and get group coverage. It only takes two people to become a group.

        You also dont' really understand the pre-ACA market.

        If you had a pre-existing condition, depending on the condition, you may or may not be able to get coverage. The insurance company could write a rider so that you get coverage for everything but your condition. If you are an employee of a company that offers group insurance, you cannot be denied coverage.

        There's also medicaid if you can't afford medical coverage and you make less than the maximum allowed. There were also risk pools for those who can't get coverage.

        And yes, I do know a bit about this. I'm also a licensed agent. ;-)

        Health insurance is a bit confusing and this is just on the consumer side. You should see what its like to run a small practice.

        Obamacare really fscked up the healthcare environment. Socialized medicine is a failure waiting to happen.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: @Orv

          If you allow people to group together to spread the risk then you ultimately end up with the ludicrous situation of everyone together in one pool run by the government.

          1. Ian Michael Gumby
            WTF?

            @Yet anbother anonymous coward... Re: @Orv

            No offense, but your comment doesn't make sense.

            Every group is part of a risk pool. Its not the existence of a risk pool that's the issue.

            My company is a small company so its grouped together with other small companies in the same plan as a way to establish a risk pool. IBM is large enough that not only could it self insure itself, but it could be its own risk pool.

            Your insurance rates are based on factors like age, and medical expenses.

            The ACA capped the ratio of expenses between the young and the old causing the insurance premiums on younger adults to increase significantly more than older folks however overall they went up for everyone.

            The issue wasn't the existence of a risk pool. The issue was that companies came on to the exchanges pricing insurance with no prior history to base their actuarial formulas. Obama promised to make the insurance companies whole, with funds he didn't have. So the insurance companies under priced for the actual risk and lost BILLIONS. Now these insurance companies that got in to the game with Federal Loans, got hammered and all have gone under. Because insurance is regulated by the states, they can only raise premiums by a certain percentage each year, so in year 2, they also lost billions.

            The reason they lost billions is that the young healthy people didn't want to pay for something that they didn't want or need. They could have purchased a catastrophic insurance policy that would meet their needs. So the risk pools got skewed and more 'unhealthy' older people jumped on the insurance.

            So its not the issue of having risk pools, but the insurance companies not being able to manage their risks. Obama et al thought that could balance the risk by forcing younger people in to buying something that they didn't need. Didn't work out.

            This is why the ACA is DOA. There are one or two counties where you can't buy insurance because no one is offering it. In most markets only BC/BS is offering policies once UHG pulls out. And if BC/BS pulls out... what happens when you can't buy insurance and the law requires it?

            This is why Trump and the Republicans have an opportunity to fix things. Only problem is that while they agree that ACA is crap, they can't agree on how to fix the damage.

            There's so much more but its hard trying to explain it when many here don't have a grasp on both sides of the industry.

            1. Orv Silver badge

              Re: @Yet anbother anonymous coward... @Orv

              "The reason they lost billions is that the young healthy people didn't want to pay for something that they didn't want or need. They could have purchased a catastrophic insurance policy that would meet their needs."

              This doesn't fit with what I've heard from the actual young people I know. Their complaint is their politics have deductibles so high, they still can't visit the doctor, even though they're insured. When their only choices are catastrophic policies, that will only get worse.

              A relatively young friend of mine was taken to the hospital for heart problems last year. She refuses to follow up, and instructed everyone not to take her to the hospital if she starts having chest pains again, because she can't afford the bills from the first visit. A single ICU stay of less than a day resulted in her being in seven figures' worth of debt in deductibles and copays, and she has a "good" plan. She's an extreme example but I know many people who are neglecting chronic health problems because they can't afford to treat them. Some of these will eventually become emergencies, and end up costing all of us as the hospital writes off the bad debt and raises their prices for everyone else to compensate.

              "This is why Trump and the Republicans have an opportunity to fix things. Only problem is that while they agree that ACA is crap, they can't agree on how to fix the damage."

              They don't want to fix it. They fundamentally don't believe government should be involved, and their plans are all designed to make the ACA fail so they can get back to some semblance of the old system...which worked fine for the elderly (who already had socialized medicine) and the rich, their two main constituencies.

        2. Rattus Rattus

          @Ian Michael Gumby

          The Affordable Care Act has absolutely nothing to do with socialised healthcare, your Republican idiots ensured that.

          I'm so glad I don't have to rely on the utterly insane US lack-of-healthcare system, I am fortunate enough to live in a country that DOES have an extremely successful socialised health system.

          1. Ian Michael Gumby

            @Rattus Re: @Ian Michael Gumby

            You live in the UK?

            Funny, I was in the UK for a year. Kept seeing the morning news on TV where they talk about the fact that doctors and nurses haven't had a raise in many years, and how they had trouble keeping ERs clean.

            The NHS is breaking at the seems.

            You slip on the ice, and hurt your back. You need PT, but you have to wait 6 months before you can see someone. But if you have private insurance, you can see a doctor right away, most of the time its the same doctor or therapist.

            You have no clue about the ACA. It was designed to fail so that you have a single payer system.

            Oh and BTW, as a Yank, I was outside of the NHS but when I had to see a doctor... I got to see first hand on how the system doesn't work.

            1. Rattus Rattus

              Re: @Rattus @Ian Michael Gumby

              Nope, Australia. Where our health care system work extremely well. Of course our neoliberal party bleats abouty it being unsustainable, but thet's the same line they trot out about every kind of public infrastructure they can't sell to the highest bidder. They've tried to destroy it ever since it was introduced by Labor but it's been so popular and successful they cannot.

              Incidentally, you are mischaracterising the NHS. But that is unsurprising, all your posts show you are a selfish neoliberal yourself.

            2. Triggerfish

              Re: @Rattus @Ian Michael Gumby

              You slip on the ice, and hurt your back. You need PT, but you have to wait 6 months before you can see someone. But if you have private insurance, you can see a doctor right away, most of the time its the same doctor or therapist.

              And if your poor in America and you slip on ice? do you just live with the injury? How quick is the treatment provided, whats the cost?

              Oh and BTW, as a Yank, I was outside of the NHS but when I had to see a doctor... I got to see first hand on how the system doesn't work.

              And yet it doesn't matter what money you earn you can still get treated, doesn't matter if your poor or not, you don't need paperwork to prove you are eligible to be treated as a human being and provided medical care (especially long term non life threatening but life changing), you don't have to worry about being made bankrupt, you don't get to hear stories of people living with mnor injuries becuase ethey can't qfford to have it looked at. You don't need specialists selling insurance and having to wade through all the legalese to work out whether someone can be treated, it is considered a basic human right.

              1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                Re: @Rattus @Ian Michael Gumby

                The NHS is a long way from perfect, it's wasteful and underfunded at the same time and the working conditions are crap.

                However, it is a *lot* better than nothing I can assure you. I wish I had the power to improve it and cut down on waste etc. (and idiots turning up to A&E with a broken nail but that's another story).

                If you've done something stupid and injured yourself, yes you will be on the receiving end of some very unsympathetic arsehole in a white coat and have to wait 5 hours to be treated, but they *will* treat you.

                You can criticize the NHS when your country has something better that we can all look to for inspiration.

          2. SouthernLogic

            Re: @Ian Michael Gumby

            ACA was a democrat only program. Hated by all who had employer healthcare as their premiums went up 1.5 to 2.5 times more than previously for less useful coverage.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: @Ian Michael Gumby

              And LOVED by all those who couldn't get healthcare coverage any other way.

              Seems, as they say, you can't please everyone. And the families of those who DIE tend to sue.

            2. Orv Silver badge

              Re: @Ian Michael Gumby

              Here's another anecdote to counter yours: Premiums for my employer plan went *down* during that period. But it's hard to pin employer plan changes on the ACA, since it had very little to say about employer plans. It did require certain coverages, but most plans already covered them anyway. The so-called "Cadillac tax" on especially generous employer plans doesn't even go into effect until 2020.

              One obfuscating feature in this debate is that people arguing against the ACA will usually blame it for all premium increases since it passed -- in fact I heard Republicans blaming it for increases that happened *before it had even taken effect*. The major problem with this logic is premiums were *already* increasing at a steep rate. Overall, they increased less rapidly under the ACA.

              Some individuals did see steep increases, especially people on catastrophic plans that didn't actually cover anything, since there were minimum coverage levels required under the ACA. But that was not the overall trend. Unfortunately voters continue to think that "data" is the plural of "anecdote," and there's a whole wing of the news media devoted to encouraging that.

        3. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: @Orv

          If you had a pre-existing condition, depending on the condition, you may or may not be able to get coverage. The insurance company could write a rider so that you get coverage for everything but your condition.

          So if you are ill and cannot work due to a pre-existing condition, not only do you get more expensive insurance premiums, but it won't cover the thing you are actually ill for, what do you do then? Go bust and then die due to inability to pay to treat your treatable condition?

          What a delightful country you live in. Your medical insurance companies make more profit than most healthcare systems cost in total. You should be proud of how exceptional America is.

          1. Ian Michael Gumby
            Boffin

            @Tom 38 ... Re: @Orv

            I'd take the US healthcare over the UK system any day.

            So to explain how it works...

            Prior to the ACA... if you were part of a group, you couldn't be denied coverage, even for a pre-existing condition. So if you worked for a company that offered health insurance, you would be covered.

            If you were on an individual plan or in a group and then left the group, its possible that you could get coverage but have a rider for the pre-existing situation. (e.g. pregnancy).

            If you were disabled and couldn't work due to a medical condition, you could go on medicaid. If you made too much money and were uninsurable. You could fall in to a group and the state would cover you. However you're going to be limited in your options.

            What most people don't realize that if you are really sick or injured, you can go in to a county hospital. They will treat you regardless of insurance if your illness or accident is life threatening. Think Chicago, Think wounded by gunfire. They keep you alive regardless of your ability to pay.

            1. Rattus Rattus

              Re: @Tom 38 ... @Orv

              Yes... Thery keep you alive, then send you a crippling bill a couple of months later that bankrupts you.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Tom 38 ... @Orv

                "They keep you alive, then send you a crippling bill a couple of months later that bankrupts you."

                Well, how much is being alive worth? They could let you die for free.

                1. Orv Silver badge

                  Re: @Tom 38 ... @Orv

                  "Well, how much is being alive worth? They could let you die for free."

                  That *is* a fair point, but I'm not sure that it's useful economically (or morally) to have people trapped in debt for the rest of their lives because they happened to get sick or get in an accident. If they *do* manage to declare bankruptcy -- which is quite a bit harder for individuals nowadays, by the way -- then the hospital will have to get that money somewhere else. So society at large ends up paying anyway, just less efficiently.

                  It's also worth noting that "keep you alive" is very narrowly defined here. They can't let you bleed out, sure. But they can discharge you as soon as you're stable. If the incident was due to a chronic medical problem like asthma or diabetes, you won't get any help treating it, so the cycle will just repeat until it finally kills you.

                  This keeps a lot of people out of the labor force. It's easy to end up in a situation where you COULD work if you could get medication to treat your chronic illness or mental health issues, but because you're not working you can't afford the meds. Then you get told it's your own fault for not holding down a job. Catch-22.

        4. Orv Silver badge

          Re: @Orv

          "If you had a pre-existing condition, depending on the condition, you may or may not be able to get coverage."

          I've been lucky enough to have group plans, but friends I know who have similar health issues to mine were always turned down flat by private insurers. Insurers really don't like mental illnesses, even minor ones that are well managed by inexpensive medications.

          "If you are an employee of a company that offers group insurance, you cannot be denied coverage."

          In the current political climate I am not sure that rule will continue to be in force.

          "There's also medicaid if you can't afford medical coverage and you make less than the maximum allowed."

          Pre-ACA, Medicaid was not available to childless adults in most states. In states that offered it, there were caps on membership that lead to long waiting periods. I knew at least one person who waited for two years to get covered. Pre-ACA there were also asset caps, so if you had a car or a house you wouldn't qualify.

          "There were also risk pools for those who can't get coverage."

          High-risk pools are prohibitively expensive. The economics of insurance break down if you pack all the sick people into one group. They're strictly a fig leaf intended to create the *appearance* that people can be covered, without actually covering anyone.

          "Socialized medicine is a failure waiting to happen."

          It seems to be working elsewhere in the world. Obamacare's problem is it was an unholy Frankenstein's monster that tried to protect insurance company profits while also achieving universal coverage.

          It's true there are tradeoffs. I'm reminded of the Canadian emigrant I knew who remarked that the health care he got in Canada was not as rapid or as high-tech as the health care he couldn't afford here. The US system provides the best care in the world for the rich, but only for them.

    3. SouthernLogic

      Employer health coverage was a great way for employers to attract and retain talent. Now with this ACA abortion there is no options since the goal of the ACA was to force out private insurance so all that was left was the government. Go back to the days of Employer sponsored healthcare with competition and watch premiums drop back to the $500/month for a family instead if the 1500+/month now.

  13. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    extreme

    "It is another sad reminder of just how extreme the Democrat party and their liberal allies are becoming."

    Of course it is. Just imagine .. trying to provide healthcare for people who are actually ill!

    Whatever next ?

    Everyone knows you're only supposed to have health insurance if you're going to stay well.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: extreme

      Well when extreme is the new normal a commitment to not being extreme is a pretty extreme position.

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Adrian 4 Re: extreme

      ".....Everyone knows you're only supposed to have health insurance if you're going to stay well." I have car insurance despite having no intention of getting into an accudent. If I were driving a company vehicle, my company would pay a car insurance premium for that. But I want my car insurance to be priced based on a statistical analysis of the likelihood I will be involved in an accident - my previous history of good driving, my likely car use, and my experience due to my age. But, if the car insurance company was unable to see that data (which, as a good driver, I am happy to give), they would have to assume there is a statistical chance I am a knuckle-dragging, moronic (usually a genetic and hereditary condition) boy-racer, and charge me a higher premium. Suddenly, my company's ability to employ lots more drivers is limited by the additional cost of unreasonable insurance charges. Please drop the emotional insistence "this is all just Big Bad Bizz" and explain why you think it is reasonable for companies to be unable to employ more people because they have to pay extra for insurance simply because the insurance provider cannot provide an accurate assessment of health risk?

      1. ST Silver badge

        Re: Adrian 4 extreme

        > [ ... ]I have car insurance despite having no intention of getting into an accudent.

        Just like you have no intention of getting into an accident, someone else has no intention whatsoever of developing diabetes, or Parkinson's disease, or cancer.

        While it is entirely possible that you can drive a car for your entire life without ever getting into an accident, it is statistically impossible to live without becoming sick., at some point.

        The difference being that you also have the choice not to drive a car. Don't buy or lease a car, no vehicle insurance required. No such choice exists in aging and becoming ill.

        Do we really have to re-litigate this argument about the difference between commodity insurance - i.e. vehicle insurance - and health insurance?

        Health insurance companies are perfectly capable today of assessing health risks, today. Give me one concrete example of a US health insurance company that has filed for bankruptcy because they have under-estimated the average health risks of their subscribers' risk pools. Last I checked, all health insurance companies in the US were for-profit corporations, and were eminently profitable.

        This sudden need for coercing employees into handing over their genome is nothing more than excessive greed disguised as an actuarial optimisation exercise. These companies are some of the major donors paying for the GOP's re-election campaigns. They get a nice fascist law on the books in return. Quid pro quo.

        For our British friends: GOP == Grand Old Party. The chest-thumping official name of the US Republican Party.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: ST Re: Adrian 4 extreme

          "....you also have the choice not to drive a car....." You also have the choice not to work, or not to work for a company that has genetic testing as part of their healthcare requirement.

          "....Do we really have to re-litigate this argument about the difference between commodity insurance - i.e. vehicle insurance - and health insurance?....." Yes, because so far you haven't argued anything, just bleated another emotional appeal.

          ".....This sudden need for coercing employees into handing over their genome is nothing more than excessive greed disguised as an actuarial optimisation exercise....." And you proved that.... Oh - surprise - you didn't prove that at all, just regurgitated that preformed conclusion.

          "....These companies are some of the major donors paying for the GOP's re-election campaigns....." IIRC, not only did Shrillary and her party receive far more in donations from US companies and fat cats, her shadowy Clinton Foundation has an even bigger take from foreign "donors".

          ".....They get a nice fascist law on the books in return..." And their is your sociology-political failing exposed - you can't see past the "Big Bad Capitalists" bullshit.

          1. ST Silver badge

            Re: ST Adrian 4 extreme

            > You also have the choice not to work, or not to work for a company that has genetic testing as part of their healthcare requirement.

            You also have the choice not to buy a health insurance plan offered by your employer.

            If you believe the cost of your employer-provided health plan is skewed, or too expensive, you can always buy your own individual health insurance plan on the open market. Or, you can opt not to buy health insurance at all, and pay for your medical expenses from your own pocket. Nobody is forcing you to buy health insurance from your employer, or on the open market.

            In the US, driving without vehicle insurance is a criminal offense. Depending on the state, the penalty can be jail time.

            Not carrying a health insurance plan is not an offense of any kind, and is not mandatory.

          2. Richard 12 Silver badge

            @Matt Bryant

            Die.

            Go bankrupt.

            Go bankrupt and die.

            Lose your job, go bankrupt and die.

            Those aren't choices, stop claiming they are.

            Under the rules you're recommending, if you get sick and are not incredibly wealthy, you die. In many cases painfully and slowly.

            If you're lucky, you bankrupt your family to pay (or even "co-pay", what a term!) for your treatment. You then can't get any insurance at all ever again, and next time, you die.

            When you get sick, think on the thousands of people you have doomed to die. Then die, alone, in pain and having spent everything you have.

            A civilised society cares for its sick.

            A civilised human being is happy to pay into a central pot to care for all the sick.

            A self-interested human being is happy to pay into said central pot because they themselves may get sick.

            Only a fool thinks that pot shouldn't exist. Only a psychopath thinks the only pot is for them alone.

            1. SouthernLogic

              Re: @Matt Bryant

              In socialized medicine you get sick, put on a waiting list, then you die because your appointment has not come up yet.

              Many pots are better than one big corrupt pot!

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: @Matt Bryant

                "In socialized medicine you get sick, put on a waiting list, then you die because your appointment has not come up yet.

                Many pots are better than one big corrupt pot!"

                But at least you have a shot. Without it, you basically let down everyone that depends on you. Widows, orphans, etc.

                And one big pot is a single point of failure, it's also a single point of repair, too. Lot easier to repair or even rebuild one big pot than a number of small ones. Thus why modern airliners have two honking big engines instead of four smaller ones.

              2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                Re: @Matt Bryant

                "In socialized medicine you get sick, put on a waiting list, then you die because your appointment has not come up yet."

                What country, more specifically, are you talking about here?

                You know there are hundreds of other countries in the world, right?

      2. Rob D.

        Re: Adrian 4 extreme

        @Matt Bryant

        This does not consider the aggregate risks associated with groups rather than individuals and the predictability of the cost of providing health care cover for a group of people.

        Health insurance companies have pretty good statistics regarding the chances of, say, five people in a population of a hundred developing cancer. So the cost of providing health care for that population is statistically predictable up front and doesn't change just because you do not ascribe all possible risk factors to individuals. The risk is aggregated and the cost is distributed. That's why group plans are usually cheaper than individual plans.

        The problem is not the net cost for a given population - the problem is the unrestrained attribution of risk factors to specific individuals in that population which excludes them from the only market for an essential service based on factors that they have no means to control or influence nor which society considers reasonably fair to discriminate on.

        Should regulation allow discrimination against the individual or should the risk be aggregated in a larger population? To what extent should companies be able to include or exclude people from their staff by examining personal factors?

        I agree some exclusion/selection is always going to be appropriate (I think gender should be a factor on car insurance even though the EU says 'Non'), but IMO the moral imperative is why the car insurance versus health insurance analogy breaks down for individuals and why distributed cost for genetic factors is fairer without affecting the economics.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Rob D. Re: Adrian 4 extreme

          "....Health insurance companies have pretty good statistics regarding the chances of, say, five people in a population of a hundred developing cancer....." Yes, they do. They also have excellent genetic research that allows them to remove the guesswork and provide a far more precise estimation of an individual's risk. Statistically, I can predict a certain number of apples I buy from the supermarket are going to be bruised - examining the apples prior to purchase allows me to exclude the bruised ones if I wish to do so (I may prefer bruised apples). Estimations based on examination of a group are always going to be more exact and preferred than having to take statistical norms.

          "....So the cost of providing health care for that population is statistically predictable...." But why should an employer be forced to use inaccurate figures based on general population statistics when they are only concerned with a small subset of the population? For example, if I was an employer hiring recent graduates, it is unlikely to include many people over forty, at which age the statistical occurrence of cancer increases markedly, so why should I have to pay extra to insure my grads as if one-in-two were over forty (median age in the US population is 37.8, IIRC)? It is an unnecessary cost. As an employer it is not my responsibility to cater for the healthcare of the general population (I pay taxes and the company pays corporate taxes to cover welfare anyway), but it is my responsibility to provide the best healthcare deal for my employees and my company, especially if those savings can be applied to other investments such as employing more people. I know the majority of posters here desperately want to baaaaaaaaahlieve that the savings would go into fat cat bonuses but that's not always the case.

          1. Cris E

            Re: Bryant - Rob d. Adrian 4 extreme

            So costs can be used to justify any hiring decisions imaginable? You already went on record against women, how about making up some race-based costs? Are you actually endorsing getting rid of all employment bias laws? Just getting a pretty harsh vibe here, and it's more than the usual Libertarian "I got mine" selfishness.

          2. Orv Silver badge

            Re: Rob D. Adrian 4 extreme

            "But why should an employer be forced to use inaccurate figures based on general population statistics when they are only concerned with a small subset of the population?"

            Actually, in the US this is taken into account in many cases. The overall premiums for a group plan are based, in part, on the age and size of the workforce and what jobs they do.

            Story: I used to work at a casino chain. The majority of our employees were restaurant staff. It turns out health insurers HATE restaurant staff -- they have high turnover and, at least at the time, they worked in smoke-filled environments and often smoked themselves. Combine this with a relatively small workforce, and our group insurance premiums were very high. Eventually we found a company that would keep them more reasonable -- but one of their criteria was we couldn't let anyone opt out, because they wanted healthy people paying in to offset the sick ones. (This is, of course, what the ACA's individual mandate was trying to accomplish in the private market.)

            There are perverse incentives here for employers. They'll sometimes try to force older workers into early retirement, or simply not hire them, in order to keep their premiums down. Other groups likely to have more expensive claims (e.g., women) often got the same treatment.

            My fear with genetic testing is it will create a class of people who, due to "bad genes," are simply not employable, even though they may not be showing any signs of the conditions they're at risk for.

      3. Rattus Rattus

        Matt Bryant

        That sounds like an excellent argument for private health insurance to be completely abolished and all health care to become entirely government-run. Remove the profit motive, remove the high costs, spend a little tax money, everyone wins! Except the wealthy clamouring for ever lower taxes and reduction of assistance to poor people. But fuck them, selfish pricks that they are.

      4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Adrian 4 extreme

        Matt - ever heard of line-breaks? Sentence formatting?

        It's bad enough trying to read your blinkered drivel, but trying to read it in a mass of undifferentiated text makes it even worse.

        Add some line breaks. And (if it's not too hard) a little empathy.

  14. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    And force everyone to use those auto insurance monitoring devices too.

    And let's put cameras in all your bathrooms, so we can look to make sure you are using bath mats and cleaning up spills to reduce the risk of slips.

    Sigh--one of the crap parts of getting older is remembering when conservatives actually stood for small government.

    1. Pirate Dave
      Pirate

      Re: And force everyone to use those auto insurance monitoring devices too.

      "one of the crap parts of getting older is remembering when conservatives actually stood for small government."

      I'm glad I'm not the only one who remembers those days. Days when there was a delineation between Liberals and Conservatives, but things weren't so polarized. Your opponent could be "wrong", but that didn't mean he was necessarily "bad". As it is now, it's like two oppositely charged plates in an enormous capacitor just waiting for the electrolyte to break down.

      (oh, and if this bill passes and a future employer wants my DNA for health insurance purposes, fine, they just have to get on their knees and suck it out...)

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Re: And force everyone to use those auto insurance monitoring devices too.

        "oh, and if this bill passes and a future employer wants my DNA for health insurance purposes, fine, they just have to get on their knees and suck it out..."

        You might change your mind when you see the guy they've got lined up for the job.

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: And force everyone to use those auto insurance monitoring devices too.

        The won't have to do anything except grab your discarded Starbuck cup from the trash. You left your DNA on it and in a gazillions other places.

        As to the legality of this? They've got bigger lawyers than you. Next question?

  15. Black Rat
    Devil

    Wait for the ammendments...

    Punishments will involve the removal of redundant organs such as an eye, a kidney, a lung, or a testicle.

    May his merciful shadow fall upon you.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Arctic fox
    WTF?

    Sometimes a quote can really make you cross-eyed.

    A spokesperson for the modern Republican party said:

    "It is another sad reminder of just how extreme the Democrat party and their liberal allies are becoming."

    It is not often that I make use of a biblical quotation but on this occasion the following from the King James version is spot on:

    "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Sometimes a quote can really make you cross-eyed.

      Now all they have to do is find the bit in the bible about DNA sequencing and they can use my information

  17. LiarLiarLiar
    Alert

    Start with congress first

    let them be the first to submit their DNA

  18. Frank N. Stein

    I'm not submitting blood samples or any other genetic information to any employer. Screw that and screw them, as well as FRAK ME CARE. Pass on both.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      re:proving genetic information

      I wouldn't provide them with a urine sample even if they were on fire :)

  19. Eddy Ito
    Devil

    Fair enough but since all government workers, senators, representatives, judges, and the president all work for the people their DNA records must be available to the public, their employers. Of course they're free to decline their benefit package if they refuse.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I agree, genetic information is useful for your Doctor for "preventative medicine".

    That data should NEVER be given to your employer. The idea is just idiotic. There is just so many ways it can be exploited to the detriment of the employee.

    With a Court order that information can be shared with the government, because it's necessary for criminal investigations, etc. And, shared with researchers If anonymized.

    The Republican Party seems to be getting more and more radicalized. I started out as a Republican, and still believe a smallish federal government is the way to go, but every year the Republican representatives seem to be less in touch with reality. And, believe the Constitution is just... that historical document (to be fair the Democrats often share this view).

    I call myself a Libertarian nowadays, which just (usually) means I don't have a "representative" to vote for...

  21. ecofeco Silver badge

    You have problem with Corporate Communist Capitalism©®™, comrade?

  22. Warm Braw Silver badge

    "lower costs, and greater control for working families"

    Well, if noone at a higher risk of needing medical care can get a job, that is pretty much a self-fulfilling prophesy. It does rather leave unanswered the question of what to do with the families who will be non-working in perpetuity. Perhaps if there's any concrete left over they could build a wall around them, too, to keep them out of sight.

    1. Mystic Megabyte
      Unhappy

      Re: "lower costs, and greater control for working families" @warm braw

      " It does rather leave unanswered the question of what to do with the families who will be non-working in perpetuity. "

      Silly billy! All those people will be in gulags, working in strip mining the National Parks of their resources.

      SAD

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "lower costs, and greater control for working families"

      "It does rather leave unanswered the question of what to do with the families who will be non-working in perpetuity."

      In a way Trump already answered that one on the campaign trail. "[...] nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know," Should his core voters feel they have been duped - then they are likely to get even more radical.

      http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/09/politics/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-second-amendment/

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey, I'm all for it!

    I'm all for it, provided they test this fist with all politicians and aides who try to get this in place as law. Surely they won't have any objections to demonstrating just how benign this blatant attempt at placating the insurance industry is? As a matter of fact, it may be worth mandating weekly drug tests in the process as well because whatever they're snorting to come up with these ideas, it must be a banned substance, or it ought to be.

    Sometimes I wonder if it isn't a better idea to build a wall around Washington and weld the gate shut. Even if we include Trump's other outhouses in this plan it will still be a lot cheaper than continue to pay for the idiocy they inflict on the country.

    Unlike a wall with Mexico, this is achievable and does have tangible benefits.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Escape from DC?

      I for one don't want to see Snake Plissken on a mission to rescue Donald Trump.

      1. 404

        Re: Escape from DC?

        We're installing the gate for what purpose?

    2. Cris E

      Re: Hey, I'm all for it!

      If they can't get a PDF of Trump's taxes out there I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for his DNA.

  24. raving angry loony

    In saner countries...

    Meanwhile, in more sane countries (ie: Canada) use of genetic testing for discrimination has just become illegal. A result the insurance companies are attempting to call "unconstitutional", of course, but hey, they lost this time. For once. No thanks to the leadership of the current party in power, mind you, who was willing to let the country bend over and take it up the arse. But thanks to the backbenchers, those people without power, who almost all voted against their own party because sometimes sanity wins.

    Then again, the US "healthcare" system is terminally broken. Their next revolution can't come too soon, I'm tired of their sick and twisted shit getting exported to other countries, or at least trying to be.

  25. GrapeBunch

    Ownership

    If I understand correctly, in USA, you don't own your own DNA. So if a company patents your DNA, you have no rights at all. Just saying that this is another potential profit corner for the politicians' corporate friends.

    Oh yes, and RyUncare.

    1. tacitust

      Re: Ownership

      No you don't understand correctly. You cannot patent naturally occurring DNA or genes, only those that do not occur in the wild (i.e. made in the lab). This was reaffirmed unanimously by the Supreme Court in 2013

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ownership

        So what happens when they duplicate a naturally-occurring DNA sequence in the lab?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ownership

          "So what happens when they duplicate a naturally-occurring DNA sequence in the lab?"

          They'll find they just wasted a lot of money. Or that they need to waste a lot more money on bribes.

  26. Winkypop Silver badge

    Ahh yes, Simpkins, do come in, take a seat

    Now about your application for promotion. It seems you will be leaving us before long, and the training is rather expensive. Have you considered spending more time with your family, hmmm?

  27. kmac499

    Boss Testing

    IMHO being able to read the Pyschological profile of a few of the Bosses I've worked for would've been really useful.

  28. chivo243 Silver badge

    If so...

    it may be a long time before I repatriate to good ol United Soviet States of America...

  29. karlnapf

    I wondered

    why there are leginos of lawyers in the land of the free. Now i know. You will need them to sue out the shit of your shiny new goverment.

    GOOD LUCK!

  30. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I always thought insurance was sharing risk and making a profit

    you provide a service by managing the maths behind the risk,

    With DNA testing you take away a lot of the risk so you are no longer providing a service - you are taking money under false pretences.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if it were made clear of the cost associated to low skin melanin then this policy wouldn't even make it this far.

    i dont like bringing race into these things, but maybe someone should tell all those white republican politicians that this policy will eventually mean white people will pay more or have insurance refused because of the higher risk of skin cancers.

  32. Sleep deprived

    Like insider trading

    Insurance companies try to beat the odds of paying more indemnities than what they receive in payments by averaging risk. But with genetic information in hand, they'd rather only insure immortals who'll pay forever and never collect anything...

  33. dncnvncd

    Confused capitalist

    It seems the neuvo Republicans(once Democrats but switched when Republicans started using government to get wealthy)are just as confused as Democrats when it comes to science. DNA is only statistically exact when it comes to determining identity. The Nazis and Japanese unit 911 did a lot of research on twins that involved environmental variables like diseases exposed to. Disease, parasites, chemicals and location all play a part in modifying the RNA messenger mechanism that has the capability to modify DNA. We would be well on our way to curing all illnesses if DNA Genome Therapy was that accurate. We're not. So it isn't. Politically this is stupid when some Republicans are fighting socialized medicine that another Republican would propose an unjustified reason to raise private health insurance rates. Stress which is controllable by companies is the largest contributor illness and disease. It's effects,hypertension, heart attacks, strokes, obesity and unhealthy eating habits, are the same regardless of DNA.

  34. Zorg

    @Ian Michael Gumby Re: Kinda misses the point

    <i>Obamacare/ACA is in a death spiral and is collapsing. No point in having a health care market when you have no insurance companies willing to provide coverage at a loss. Removing ACA is the best thing Trump and Congress can do.</i>

    You are absolutely correct. Unfortunately, our hero Obama doesn't understand basic economics. The young and healthy were supposed to have their wealth taken to support the poor and infirm. The kids, even though they are for the idea, are not for participating so they didn't. Big surprise... wait... no... basic human nature. It was doomed to failure before it even started. That's why they added the "penalty"... uh... I mean the "extra tax" for not participating. Unfortunately the penalty wasn't large enough so it still failed. It is going to cost many many billions to fix it and that will be blamed on Trump, of course.

    <i>Replacing it with something... that's the hard part because Obama did way to much damage, which was his plan in the first place.</i>

    Sorry pal, fixing Obama's socialized healthcare abortion (no pun intended) does not require the insane Draconian action to take DNA samples and use them too determine fitness for employment. Yeah, I know, it's just to help tailor healthcare to help lower costs. Well... Bullshit! It's a money grab plain and simple. This has astronomically far reaching consequences. No sane person, anywhere, can possibly think that this is a good idea.

    From one set of extreme asshats on one side to another set of extreme asshats on the other.

  35. SouthernLogic

    Protect your DNA

    The only way to protect your DNA is not to give it to any employer that asks for it. Work 1099 for these low class vultures if you have to.

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