a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA)

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Week: 586.1 

Guest: President Bill Clinton 

Topic: Genetic privacy 

Reporter: Aaron Cohen 

Host/Producer: Steve Girard 

NEMA: Genetic privacy...Health on the Hill is coming up... 

SPOT: NEMA...the National Emergency Medicine Association...fights our worst health enemies - heart disease, stroke, trauma. Call 800-332-6362. 

NEMA: Aaron Cohen reports on an effort in Washington to keep genetic information private...  

COHEN: A genetic profile has just identified you...or someone in your family, as a likely candidate for breast cancer. The information gets out, and for one fifth of people who are genetically tested, insurance is suddenly cut off. This kind of discrimination is at the heart of an effort endorsed recently by the President...to keep your genetic makeup private...  

CLINTON: This kind of discrimination is...really it’s more than wrong, it’s a life threatening abuse of a potentially life saving discovery...and I can’t help commenting that in the United States, it is a direct consequence of the fact that we are the only advanced country in the world that has chosen to finance the health care of our citizens...through a private insurance system that is completely optional, and does not cover everyone.  

COHEN: Privacy has its price, however. The health insurance industry is opposed to the bill. And a spokesman says premiums will go up if it passes. Under the bipartisan bill President Clinton endorsed, genetic information could not be disclosed to insurers or employers, health coverage could not be canceled or denied because of genetic information, and also...the bill seeks to protect further research efforts by specifying exactly who can have access to the blueprints of your life. For Health on the Hill, I’m Aaron Cohen.  

NEMA: ...and I’m Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.