Press Release: LOCAL BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS URGE PRIVACY PROTECTION FOR EMPLOYERS AND THEIR EMPLOYEES WHO SECURED HEALTH INSURANCE THROUGH THE DC HEALTH LINK: “Request for Personal Information Undermines Employer Privacy”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 16, 2015

CONTACT:Krystal Brumfield kbrumfield; (202) 365.6713

Pamela Nieto pnieto; (202) 340.5157

I-shi Patterson ishi; (202) 787.9863

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LOCAL BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS URGE PRIVACY PROTECTION FOR EMPLOYERS AND THEIR EMPLOYEES WHO SECURED HEALTH INSURANCE THROUGH THE DC HEALTH LINK

"Request for Personal Information Undermines Employer Privacy"

(Washington, DC) The DC Chamber of Commerce (DCCC), Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC) and Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) sent a letter to U.S. Senator David Vitter, Chairman, and Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member, of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. The letter expressed concerns about the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship seeking information from employer applications Congress completed through DC Health Link.

"We are deeply concerned about the efforts to collect information from the employer application," wrote the President &CEO of the three groups, Harry Wingo of DCCC, Angela Franco of GWHCC and Kathy E. Hollinger of RAMW. "We believe that privacy protections are critical to offering benefits like health insurance. We protect the privacy of our employees and have the same expectation that our information as employers is protected."

The letter also states that privacy laws protect employers and do not distinguish between Congress and small businesses in this matter. The business groups urged the Senators to protect the privacy of employers and their employees in the District of Columbia and across the nation.

In recent weeks, Senator Vitter has called for DC officials to release the names of the human resources staff for the House and Senate who completed the DC Health Link employer application. And despite the Superior Court of the District of Columbia upholding the legality of Congressional enrollment in DC Health Link’s small business marketplace, Senator Vitter continues to claim that House and Senate staff committed fraud by completing the small business employer application because Congress is not a small business.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires Members of Congress and their designated staffs to obtain employer sponsored health insurance through an exchange. Through federal regulations, DC Health Link’s small business marketplace was designated as the exchange through which Congressional members and staff would obtain their health insurance. In a lawsuit challenging Congressional enrollment in the small business market, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia upheld the legality of Congress enrolling in DC Health Link’s small business marketplace.

ABOUT THE BUSINESS GROUPS: Together The DC Chamber of Commerce, The Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington represent more than 3,200 businesses in the metro DC area.

The DC Chamber of Commerce (DCCC) since 1938 has proudly served a diverse membership of businesses in the city – small, medium and large. The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) is the regional trade association representing restaurants and the foodservice industry in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. The Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC) supports the economic development of the Washington, DC metropolitan region by facilitating the success of Latino and other minority-owned businesses and the communities they serve. The three business chambers are in partnership with DC Health Link to educate and enroll the District’s small businesses in affordable quality health insurance and are DC Health Link customers as well.

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