Gene testing

Mark D. Garfinkel garfinkl at
Sat Feb 26 11:17:08 EST 1994

In article <940225161639834 at>
yolanda.gurrola at (Yolanda Gurrola) writes:

>But the insurace company has no right in my opinion to
>know about the medical problem involved with the person or the family.
>For years insurace agencies have been hiking up there prices on people
>for every little thing.
	What is the purpose of health insurance to *you*? You pay
premiums now in exchange for medical care at some future time. What
is the purpose of the *health insurance company*? To offer a service
*at a profit.* Of course the health insurance company has a right to
know about your medical condition now; it provides them *necessary*
information that helps predict how much medical care you will need in
the future. The cost of health care provided must, when summed over a
population, be equal to or less than the value of the premiums collected
from that population, or the company will go out of business.

>Right now, I don't think people want to be
>paying thousands of dollars for insurace.
	Many people, out of ignorance or malice, would want to pay
*nothing* and still get insurance. That's not how things work. TANSTAAFL.

>Insurace agencies haven't been nosy about their clients physical
>problems in the past, why should they have to start now with this gene
>testing research?
	I guess you haven't had the opportunity or necessity to obtain
health insurance on your own. A physical examination and a lengthy
series of physician's questions (commonly called "taking a history")
are usually part of the process. The questions are *very* detailed,
and are not limited to what diseases & injuries you may have suffered
in the past. The questions can concern all aspects of lifestyle: do you
smoke, do you drink, with whom do you have sex, do you take illegal
drugs, etc. Answers to these questions are how an insurance company
gauges the risks of future disease, future expense, a customer

	As for DNA testing, think of it this way: It's a method that
may allow you & your doctor to identify a disease, or risk of getting
a disease *prior* to the onset of symptoms. More knowledge = better
treatment, including preventive care. If a person has high blood
pressure or elevated serum cholesterol, he may have no external
symptoms now, but might suffer a heart attack & die later. He &
his doctor do the tests, identify the problem & *do* something about
it. Suppose the person has a "bad gene" that makes it easier for the
cholesterol to go out of whack... then it becomes *even more
important* that the patient learn how to eat healthier foods &
exercise, etc., to reduce the heart disease risk & live longer.

	I know that I'd prefer to know if I have a genetic problem
with cholesterol metabolism. Wouldn't you?


Mark D. Garfinkel (e-mail: garfinkl at
My views are my own, which is why they're copyright 1994

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