Thursday, September 29, 2005

Double Helix in the Low Block

Who's ready to talk NBA basketball? Huh? Huh?

Chicago's Eddy Curry had an episode of cardiac arrhythmia last year, and before Chicago signs him to a $5 million contract, they are demanding a DNA test to see if he's susceptible to genetic heart problems.

It's interesting stuff, and I'm not sure where I come down. Curry's agent is spinning horror tales, that this is the first step toward all of us having to give DNA samples before we can get a job. On the other hand, is signing an NBA contract "getting a job" or selling your body at auction? One thing the Chicago front office is guided by is insurance--it may be that no one will insure a contract to a guy with a heart condition of unknown severity. And the linked article quotes the late Reggie Lewis's agent, reminding us that the downside here is Eddy Curry winding up dead. This is not a knee ligament we're talking about.

This points to one factor that may finally compel the United States to guarantee universal health coverage. Genetic screening will advance to a point where people's risk factors will be so measurable and projectable that lots of people will be unable to get private health insurance.

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