You may feel fine now. No cancer, no high blood pressure, no dementia, and right now, you’re healthy. But it is possible through genetic testing to know whether you are pre-disposed to some of these conditions and diseases. The use of testing is valuable to understanding the underlying factors in disease and help to provide key information to people who may be at risk of getting ill based on what they have inherited.
What happens if that information becomes available to insurance companies?
According to Slate, “The personal genetics revolution is well-underway. More Americans than ever have access to the information contained in their genetic material.”
When the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, the cost of sequencing the 3 billion As, Cs, Gs, and Ts that comprise the human genome rang in at $50,000. Today, that price tag has plummeted to $1,000 with promises of a $100 genome in the near future. Already a mere $99 and a dab of spittle will give consumers a good sense of their genetic risk factors from private genetic testing company 23andMe. Last month, the company received Food and Drug Administration approval to test for predispositions to 10 medical conditions.
Given the importance of genome testing and given the desire by the Republicans to try to make sick people pay more for their health insurance, why wouldn’t they push for using testing to determine health insurance rates proactively? It seems ridiculous, but so does a man saying that because he has already had his children he doesn’t want to pay for other women’s maternity care.