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Healthcare inequality and genetic screening: Will the poor be left behind?

| | August 4, 2017
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Today in America, if you are poor, you are also more likely to suffer from poor health…

Imagine now, that in the future, being poor also meant you were more likely than others to suffer from major genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis, Tay–Sachs disease, and muscular dystrophy. That is a future, some experts fear, that may not be all that far off.

Most genetic diseases are non-discriminating…But for some parents, prenatal genetic testing has turned what was once fate into choice. There are tests that can screen for hundreds of disorders…That is, if they can pay for it. Without insurance, the costs of a single prenatal test can range from a few hundred dollars up to $2,000.

“Genetic disease has always been our shared vulnerability,” [Laura Hercher, a genetic counselor and professor at Sarah Lawrence College] wrote in Genome. “When one part of society can opt out of risk, will they continue to feel the same obligation to provide support and resources to those who remain vulnerable, especially if at least some of them have deliberately chosen to accept the risk?”

Hercher presents what is really a common vision of dystopia: a future of genetic haves and have-nots in which inequality becomes encoded in our basic biology.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Will Healthcare Inequality Cause Genetic Diseases to Disproportionately Impact the Poor?

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