[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/10/14/olympia.snowe/art.snowe.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Olympia Snowe's tendency to break ranks makes her a key player in the health care debate."]
(CNN) - Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe has served in Congress for more than 30 years, but in recent months, she's become one of the most-watched lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Her colleagues on both sides of the aisle have courted her vote and anxiously waited to see whether she'd cross party lines on the health care legislation moving through the Senate.
On Tuesday, the Maine senator became the only Republican to vote in support of the Senate Finance Committee's 10-year, $829 billion proposal to remake the nation's health care system.
The proposal was the product of months of negotiations between the "Gang of Six" committee members: three Democrats and three Republicans. The other Republicans involved in the negotiations, Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Mike Enzi of Wyoming, voted no on the compromise measure.
"You know, I didn't consciously set out to be the only Republican, interestingly enough," Snowe told CNN's "American Morning" on Wednesday. "It all developed as part of the bipartisan group that the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. [Max] Baucus, had convened four months ago to build bipartisan support for a bill. And it turned out I was the one remaining, along with the Democrats."
Snowe said that just because she voted yes on the committee plan doesn't mean she'll do the same for the final legislation.