On 03/02/2017, HR 1313 – Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
Bill Summary: H.R. 1313 would allow employers to offer substantial health insurance premium rebates to workers who take part in company wellness programs that may include submitting to health risk assessments. Once enrolled an employee is enrolled in a wellness program, businesses are allowed to collect “information about the manifested disease or disorder of a family member” of participating employees. The bill, which was sponsored by Committee Chair Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), does not require employees to enroll in such programs. But the bill notes that according to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, employers could reduce annual health insurance premiums by up to 50 percent for employees who did take part and not does not allow employers to require all their workers to submit to genetic testing.
Nancy J. Cox, PhD, ASHG president, in a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, provides a frightening overview: “If enacted, this legislation would undermine fundamentally the privacy provisions of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It would allow employers to ask employees invasive questions about their and their families’ health, as well as genetic tests they and their families have undergone. It would further allow employers to impose stiff financial penalties on employees who choose to keep such information private, thus empowering employers to coerce their employees into providing their health and genetic information.” from DNA Science Blog .
To Take Action:
- Read the bill & sign up for alerts on this bill here or use GovTrack.us to get up-to-date information.
- Contact the House Ways and Means Committee. This is your opportunity to give citizen testimony and lobby for/against a bill. Adding personal stories as to why or how a bill will affect average Americans is powerful and may sway committee members.
- Follow the bill’s progress in the committee: Ways and Means Committee Hearing Schedule
- Once the bill is out of committee and before the House vote, contact your Representative and tell them why you would like them to vote a certain way (for or against).