Potential increased health disparities related to genomic medicine

What ELSI is new (article)This commentary in the Genomics Law Report’s ongoing series What ELSI is New? is contributed by The Board of Directors of the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

There are many existing barriers to accessing healthcare. However, as the advances in genetic science and technologies are integrated into mainstream medicine, the gap between those who can afford and those who cannot afford healthcare will evolve into a new form of health disparities. There will always be those people who can afford the latest in medical technology and will have access to a $1000 genome test and genetic counseling to help interpret the results and fully integrate the information into their personalized medical plan.

However, a significant portion of Americans, and arguably those who most need to target their healthcare dollars, will not have access to the information. The use of genomic data to tailor a care plan should become a mainstream component of medical care for all people. Prevention, early detection, and risk reduction options are valuable to all Americans regardless of their ability to pay.