Who the Heck is Max Baucus?

By Beacon Staff

Despite his profile rising dramatically since the debate over how, and whether, to overhaul the nation’s health care system has escalated, few people know what Montana Democratic Sen. Max Baucus actually does.

Just 18 percent of those surveyed in a nationwide news quiz conducted by the Pew Research Center knew Baucus was chair of Senate Finance Committee. In fact, of the 12 multiple-choice questions asked in the quiz conducted earlier this month, the one regarding Baucus was answered incorrectly most often.

On health care, which has dominated news coverage for much of the summer, most Americans are aware that the U.S. spends more per capita on health care than most major European nations. And more than half (56%) know that the debate in Congress over a “public option” pertains to health care legislation and not some other substantive policy area. By contrast, far fewer (18%) can correctly identify Max Baucus as chair of the Senate Finance Committee that has developed legislation to reform the U.S. health care system.


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