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Alice Ollstein

Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.

Articles by Alice

As President Donald Trump mulls sabotaging Obamacare’s exchanges by cutting off billions in cost sharing reduction payments to insurers—payments that are the subject of an ongoing federal lawsuit that began when the Republican-controlled House of Representatives sued the Obama administration in 2014—a new court action this week makes it harder for him to unilaterally ending the subsidies.

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Faced with a Republican-controlled Congress that won’t do his bidding on Obamacare repeal, President Donald Trump has threatened to take the reins himself. As the president toys with the idea of cutting off billions of dollars in cost sharing reduction payments (CSRs) to health insurance companies, health care experts and lawmakers warn that this is just one of many ways the administration could trigger the “collapse” and “implosion” of the Affordable Care Act they routinely predict.

Some executive actions, like cutting off the CSRs, would be major, breaking news, but others could happen much more subtly, while still having a devastating effect on the insurance market and the millions of Americans who depend on it.

Here are some of the weapons in Trump’s health care sabotage arsenal.

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Cameron Joseph contributed reporting.

Republican’s seven-years-and-counting crusade to repeal the Affordable Care Act did not end with Friday morning’s nail-biter of a failed vote.

Though Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) essentially admitted defeat after three Republican defections tanked the GOP’s last-ditch effort to pass something out of the Senate and get to conference with the House, and despite most Republican members leaving the chamber despondent and resigned, others defiantly stated the obvious: They will keep trying, possibly forever, to dismantle President Obama’s health care legacy.

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Tierney Sneed and Cameron Joseph contributed reporting.

Republican senators have a lot to say about the so-called “skinny repeal” bill they may pass late Thursday night, but almost no one argues the stripped-down, not-yet-fully-written legislation is good policy. The hope among GOP senators is that by passing it they can proceed to conference with the House, buying more time to hash out the Obamacare replacement they have promised for seven years.

In essence, Senate Republicans are voting for a bill many of them don’t want to see become law in the hope the House will save them from themselves. But they have no guarantee other than a few verbal “assurances” that the House won’t just pass skinny repeal and call it a day.

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After a wave of Republican defections Tuesday night tanked the Senate GOP’s main Obamacare replacement plan, the Senate held a vote Wednesday morning on bill to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act but delay its effect until 2020 to allow time to cobble together a replacement.

That vote similarly failed, 45 to 55. Seven Republicans joined with every single Democrat to defeat the bill: Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), John McCain (R-AZ), Dean Heller (R-NV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Rob Portman (R-OH) all voted no.

Several Republican senators from purple states that have expanded Medicaid voted yes on repeal-and-delay, including Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

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After pushing through—on a narrow, party-line vote—a motion to proceed to debating various plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday afternoon, Republicans brought their first plan up for a vote late Tuesday night, only to watch it fail 43 to 57 in a procedural vote.

Nine Republicans joined with Democrats to kill the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA): Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rand Paul (R-KY), Bob Corker (R-TN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Dean Heller (R-NV).

 

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Tierney Sneed contributed reporting. 

With an assist from Vice President Mike Pence and an appearance by a post-cancer surgery Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Senate Republicans narrowly pushed through the motion to proceed to debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act. As they cast their votes, senators admitted to reporters that they have no idea which of many health care proposals they would be voting on in the end of a free-for-all amendment process that could last the rest of this week. But former holdouts, both moderate Republicans from Medicaid expansion states and hardline conservatives, said they relented and voted to advance into the unknown because they were promised they would have a fighting chance at passing their preferred policies in the end.

The Senate’s health care process has become a Rorschach—every lawmaker sees what they want to see in it.

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