By Elise Viebeck - 04/23/13 08:01 PM EDT
Baucus made the comment to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during a hearing Wednesday.
"I just see a huge train wreck coming down," he said of healthcare reform. "I'm very concerned that not enough is being done so far … Small businesses have no idea what to do, what to expect."
The statements reverberated widely and became a rallying cry for Republican lawmakers and other critics of the Affordable Care Act in the last week.
On Tuesday, another Tea Party group sought to raise funds from Baucus's announcement, claiming that conservatives could replace him with the "next Ted Cruz and Rand Paul."
"You might know Sen. Baucus, as he played a key role in shaping President Obama's landmark healthcare law, ObamaCare," Tea Party Express told supporters in an email.
"This is a great opportunity to take this Senate seat."
Baucus is the sixth Senate Democrat to announce his retirement this cycle.