June 16, 2017

Baker will discuss health care, opioid crisis on DC trip

Courtesy/Creative Commons
Governor Charlie Baker is traveling to Washington, D.C. on Friday.

Gov. Charlie Baker will travel to Washington, D.C. on Friday to lobby Congress on health care reform legislation and to discuss ways to address the opioid crisis, according to his office.

Returning Friday evening, the governor will be out of town the same day Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, an appointee of President Donald Trump, is visiting the Boston area. Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matt Beaton will meet with Zinke, according to Baker's office.

Baker, who blanked his November presidential ballot, was appointed by Trump to the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

Baker has repeatedly said he thinks the Bay State's attempt to curb opioid addiction - with methods such as mandating training by medical staff, adding treatment options and limiting first-time narcotic prescriptions - could serve as a nationwide model.

According to Baker's office, the governor and his staff have had conference calls with members of the commission, which is headed up by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and White House staff about the crisis.

Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman Gus Bickford knocked Baker at a party convention earlier this month for not opposing the Republican-backed health care reform law in a more full-throated manner.

In May, Baker wrote to the leadership of three U.S. Senate committees, cautioning that the American Health Care Act passed by the U.S. House would result in the loss of health insurance coverage for thousands of Bay Staters and the loss of $1 billion in federal revenue supports for the state beginning in 2020.

"Letters are not enough. Letters are not a place of action," Bickford said at the convention.

According to Baker's office, throughout the deliberations on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, the governor has discussed his concerns with senators and governors from other states in addition to the Massachusetts delegation.

On Friday, Baker plans to meet with senior staff of the U.S. Senate committees on Finance and on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

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