She was once considered the most likely Republican to vote for health care reform. Now, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is joining scores of Republicans and conservatives in support of the Florida health care lawsuit’s plaintiffs, challenging the Constitutionality of the law.
Yesterday, she and 30 other Republicans signed an amicus brief in the case.
“As I asserted during the debate on this legislation, the individual mandate has no place in a health care reform bill unless and until affordable health insurance is available for all Americans,” Snowe said in a statement. “That is why I offered an amendment in committee that would have tempered down the severity of the individual mandate and filed an amendment on the Senate floor to strike it entirely from the bill. We must take seriously the gravity of this imperious and intrusive government mandate and repeal the individual mandate before millions of Americans are forced to purchase health care coverage that they neither want nor can afford.”
Snowe did in fact seek to weaken and eliminate the individual mandate during the health care reform fight. And during the floor debate on the Senate’s legislation she voted for a Constitutional point of order challenging the constitutionality of that provision. So this isn’t exactly a new position for her. But for those who remember how close she once was to supporting the bill (she voted for it in committee), it’s another reminder of how far she’s moved since then.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.