Max Sieben Baucus is the senior U.S. Senator from Montana. Serving in the U.S. Senate since December 15, 1978, he is Montana’s longest-serving U.S. senator, and the third longest serving of current U.S. senators.
Senator Baucus announced that he would not seek re-election for another term, which is up this year. However, his departure from the Senate was accelerated as he was recently confirmed as the next U.S. Ambassador to China. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon will be the new Senate Finance Committee chair.
This transition has several implications for radiology. As chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Baucus has been pivotal in crafting the compromise Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) language that is being considered and his resignation may impact the momentum of the SGR legislation, which contains several long-sought ACR-supported provisions. In addition, through the tireless efforts of our government relations team, Sen. Baucus and his aides have come to understand radiology and the issues surrounding diagnostic imaging, and educating new staff can always be a challenge. Thankfully, we have also established relationships with a number of Wyden’s staff so we are hopeful there will be little disruption. The ACR government relations team will closely monitor this changing of the guard and modify tactics as needed to represent our collective interests.
Author – Howard B. Fleishon, M.D., MMM, FACR