The new legislative session brings new responsibilities for state Senator Lisa Baker. She will chair the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, a crucial panel with wide-ranging issue jurisdiction and a high volume of legislation. She served as a member of the committee in previous legislative sessions.
Senator Baker’s reaction to the appointment:
“I have always had an interest in health care matters, and this new assignment offers the chance for deeper involvement. The legislation we consider affects consumers, service providers and recipients, health care professionals, and businesses and workers. I constantly hear concerns from families, patients, doctors, nurses, hospital and home administrators, and others in the communities of our region.
“We have to figure out ways to increase access and improve quality within the constraints of a difficult state budget picture. There are important continuing issues we need to confront, ranging from dealing with the opioid abuse crisis, to enhancing programs for individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities, to improving access to mental health services.
“There is a major additional challenge looming. The committee will play a key role in determining how Pennsylvania adapts to the federal health care law changes the incoming administration has pledged to pursue.
“In chairing the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and the Labor & Industry Committee, my focus was on building consensus for practical legislation that would responsibly solve problems or create opportunities. My approach will be the same in this new role.”
Before being elected to the state Senate, Baker served as executive director of the Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, a position that provided insight into how collaboration and partnerships could improve services and outcomes.