Healthcare has been a career-long concern of Senator Snowe, going back as far as her time in the Maine State Legislature, where she garnered considerable reputation for her efforts in this sphere. In the U.S. Senate, Senator Snowe has been a leading figure on issues such as expanded childcare, prescription drug costs and a responsible approach to Social Security reform, following her instincts even in face of political opposition from fellow Republicans.
Finance Committee comments on RX drugs, 2/9/2005 (audio)
Finance Committee comments on Social Security, 2/3/2005 (audio)
Comments during confirmation hearing for Michael Leavitt, 1/19/2005 (audio)
By courtesy of the Senate Republican Conference
- On social security reform: Senator Snowe was among the first Republicans in Congress to oppose attempts by the administration to undermine existing Social Security provisions by diverting payroll taxes into creating private accounts; in due course, ever-greater numbers of Congressional Republicans concurred with her position, including Sen. Frist and Speaker Hastert.
- Has been a long-time champion of lowering prescription drug prices; speaking during the Senate debate on cheaper Rx drugs for seniors through Medicare:“Passing this legislation will be a tangible verification of our society’s commitment to providing for those who have walked the path before us.“ (Floor speech, audio, 6/17/2003)“We have the opportunity here, today, either to use this issue to play politics or to pass policy“ (Committee remarks, audio, 6/12/2003)
- Opposes government-controlled healthcare: “We need to reject the whole notion of a government-run health care system, because it will have an impact on the quality health care system that we have today. If you make this a national policy, you have the potential of jeopardizing the kind of breakthroughs that we have seen in the pharmaceutical industry.“ (Tough Running Against Maine’s Snowe, Washington Post, 9/25/2000)
- Introduced the Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act, intended to guarantee access to contraceptive drugs and services by prohibiting health insurance plans from excluding coverage of FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices and related outpatient contraceptive services:“Women of reproductive age spend 68 percent more than men in out-of-pocket health care costs, and at a time when we want to reduce unintended pregnancy, it does not make sense that so many otherwise insured women can’t afford access to the most effective contraceptives because of the disparity in coverage.“ (The Washington Office, Oct. 2002)
- Strong supporter of expanded childcare:“If we want the nearly 5 million people who currently are on the caseload to transition and remain off welfare, we clearly have to provide them affordable, quality childcare assistance.“ (Congressional Record, 3/30/2004, p.S3331)
- Introducing a resolution to require the National Cancer Institute to provide accurate mammogram guidelines:“If we ever hope to improve survival rates for breast cancer, women of all ages must receive accurate and consistent information regarding the importance of mammograms. Women and their doctors look to [the National Cancer Institute] for clear guidance and advice on this issue. By rescinding its guideline, NCI produced widespread confusion and concern among women and physicians regarding the appropriate age at which to seek mammograms. This confusion eroded public confidence in mammography. It also reinforced the information barrier which discourages women from seeking care. I am asking the Senate to consider my resolution today because women and physicians deserve to have guidance on this issue. My resolution expresses the sense of the Senate that NCI should conduct studies to determine, once and for all, the true benefit of mammograms for women in their forties. …This resolution does not dictate science – it simply helps to provide women with clearer guidance as they look to answer a potentially life or death question: should they get mammograms in their forties?“ (Congressional Record, 2/4/1997, p. S929)
- Senator Barbara Mikulski, speaking about the same resolution:
“Senator Snowe has been an outstanding advocate for many years on the issue of women’s
health. This is yet one more action on her part that shows her deep commitment in this area.“ (Ibid.)