Baucus's top staffer now GE's healthcare lobbyist

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., may be the most important single lawmaker when it comes to healthcare reform. He chairs the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over many aspects of health care reform, which President Obama is pushing for hard.

This all makes it noteworthy that his former chief of staff, David Castagnetti, has been hired by GE Healthcare this Spring to lobby on "Health care reform issues ... including reimbursement for imaging services," according to a federal lobbying filing posted last week. Castagnetti is a partner with the firm Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti.

To even things up, Colette Desmarais, the health policy advisor to top Finance Committee Republican Chuck Grassley, is also on the account.

Also making GE's case on health care reform at MVC:

*Jonathan Hoganson (D), who was Rahm Emanuel's legislative director and the House Democratic Caucus policy director;

* Bruce Mehlman (R), former assistant secretary of Commerce, and policy director of the House Republican Conference;

* Elise Pickering (R), former director of the House Republican Policy Committee;

* and Dean Rosen (R), health policy director for Bill Frist, and staf director on Senate subcomittee as well as the House Ways & Means Committee.

That's a lineup bound to bring good things to GE.

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