When Public Health and Genetic Privacy Collide: Positive and Normative Theories Explaining How ACA's Expansion of Corporate Wellness Programs Conflicts with GINA's Privacy Rules

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 39 (3):469-487 (2011)
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Abstract

The passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a triumph for the field of public health. Its inclusion of many provisions intended to prevent illness and promote health endorses the core belief of public health as expressed by Dr. Georges Benjamin, the long-time executive director of the American Public Health Association, in a Washington Post opinion piece praising ACA for “provid[ing] care as far upstream as possible… [in order to] reduce costs by identifying problems early and then managing them to reduce or eliminate the need for more costly care in the future.” In this article, I consider the conflict between ACA’s adoption of public health goals seeing population health and societal interests in protecting individuals from discrimination based on their health. The article focuses on one aspect of ACA which seeks to lower the costs to employers who provide health insurance for their employees by making it easier for them to offer their employees substantial incentives for participating in and meeting the goals of employer-sponsored Wellness Programs.

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