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Bloomberg: “Florida Senator: Is Medicare Boosting China’s Biotech Market?”

Quoted in the following Bloomberg piece from August 28, 2018:

“Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wants to know if Medicare is giving China an advantage over U.S. biotechnology firms and hopes to direct the government to see how often Americans’ genetic data goes overseas.

Rubio convinced his colleagues in Congress to include a provision in the latest spending bill to investigate how much federal funding goes to Chinese and Russian companies that analyze the DNA of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies spending bill passed the full Senate Aug. 23.

Under the provision, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would collect the information and report the potential effects the spending has on national security and the competitiveness of U.S. laboratories.

‘It is hard to believe that we don’t know if the U.S. government is allowing the DNA of Americans enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid to be processed by Chinese or Russian labs,” Rubio said in a statement given to Bloomberg Law. “We need to have a comprehensive understanding of these payments and any vulnerabilities they may pose to national security interests, global competitiveness and privacy protection, which is exactly what my amendment aims to do.’”  The full article with quotes from Ben can be read here.

If it becomes law, it would offer a rare insight into how often Americans’ genetic information is processed by companies outside the U.S. for innovative tests meant to give health-care providers crucial information about people’s cancer diagnoses or the health of a fetus. Any House support should come to light when the two sides go to conference on the spending bill.