The Outlook reports that our state's health-care sector gained 2,000 jobs from 2010 to 2011, and employment in health care and social services accounted for about 15 percent of total employment in 2011, about 111,800 jobs.
As we figure out how to better provide affordable, accessible health care for West Virginians, we may also create more good-paying jobs.
I am very proud of the House Health Committee's work to address our state's health-care needs. Led ably by House Health Chairman Don Perdue, the committee has spent many hours wading through the complex issues within the state's health-care system. But the committee's ability to meet during the legislative session has been limited by its status as a minor committee.
That is why I intend to make the House of Delegates Health Committee a major standing committee, giving it the workload and status equal to the Finance, Judiciary, Education and Government Organization committees.
By allowing the House Health Committee to meet as often as the other four longstanding major committees, much more time and energy can be dedicated to health-related legislation.
Many members of the House of Delegates have told me they would like our Health Committee to be able to spend more time examining health-care matters. I believe this change is a very positive step in helping House of Delegates members better meet the needs of their constituents and to serve the state as a whole.
Delegate Thompson, D-Wayne, is speaker of the House of Delegates.