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

A new report released Wednesday morning reveals just how much states could lose under the Senate GOP’s latest Obamacare repeal bill—in total, a decrease of $215 billion dollars in federal health care spending by 2026 and more than $4 trillion cut by 2036, according to the report by the health care consulting group Avalere.

The Senate could potentially vote next week on the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act and convert Medicaid into a dwindling block grant. The bill’s Republican backers acknowledge that there will be winners and losers under the plan, but they are planning to bring the bill to a vote without getting a complete analysis from the Congressional Budget Office of its cost and expected coverage losses, making independent assessments like Avalere’s among the few data points for analyzing the bill’s impact.

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Cameron Joseph contributed reporting.

The Senate has less than two weeks, and just a handful of working days, to repeal Obamacare and block-grant Medicaid with a mere 50 votes.

“This vehicle that we’re using turns into a pumpkin on September 30th if we don’t get something else done,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) warned Tuesday.

With the clock ticking, Senate Republicans have thrown together a crude imitation of regular order in an attempt to quickly check all the necessary boxes and win over their colleagues who are sticklers for process. Next week, they plan to plow through a single hearing, receive an incomplete analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, and if they shore up the votes, take it to the Senate floor for a whopping 90 seconds of debate before launching into a vote-a-rama.

Some Republican lawmakers are less than pleased.

“That’s problematic because that is part of the problem of short-circuiting the process,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) complained, lamenting that the last-minute repeal effort is having the side effect of killing the bipartisan health care stabilization bill she and others have spent months negotiating.

Despite their paeans about respecting “regular order,” and barring any surprise defections or changes, this is the process the GOP will use over the next week to take one last run at repealing the Affordable Care Act.

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Senators who have been working for months on a bipartisan bill to stabilize Obamacare’s individual market and take away one of President Trump’s ways to sabotage it are throwing in the towel, saying the GOP’s last-minute effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act has ruined their chance of passage.

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee chair Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced Tuesday evening in a written statement that he has “not found the necessary consensus” to advance his bill.

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They’re close, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

With less than two weeks left on the clock to repeal Obamacare with only 50 votes, Senate Republicans are still scrambling to win over several wavering members of the GOP caucus. A rushed, incomplete score from the Congressional Budget Office and doubts expressed by some Democratic and Republican governors and House lawmakers have made senators still more wary of the bill currently on the table, which would repeal much of Obamacare and convert Medicaid funding into a shrinking block grant.

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As Senate Republicans scramble to gather 50 votes on a bill that would repeal key pieces of the Affordable Care Act and convert Medicaid into a shrinking block grant controlled by the states, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office announced Monday that it will not be able to fully evaluate the bill’s impact on premiums, the uninsured or the federal budget in the next two weeks.

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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) officially endorsed the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill Monday that would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act and convert Medicaid and Obamacare subsidy funding into block grants controlled by the states.

Calling the bill the “best path forward,” Ducey instructed Congress to “get the job done” in the next 12 days, before the clock runs out on Republicans’ ability to pass the bill with only 50 votes instead of the usual 60.

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A coalition of sixteen medical groups—including the influential American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association—wrote an open letter Monday opposing a new Senate effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act and convert Medicaid funding into a block grant controlled by states, warning the bill would “negatively impact patients’ access to adequate and affordable health coverage and care.”

“This bill would limit funding for the Medicaid program, roll back important essential
health benefit protections, and potentially open the door to annual and lifetime caps on coverage, endangering access to critical care for millions of Americans,” the groups wrote.

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Republicans’ last-ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act before the clock runs out on their ability to do it with a simple majority does not have a CBO score, does not have the enthusiastic support of GOP leadership, and most importantly, does not have 50 votes.

But the same health advocacy groups that mobilized in opposition to Obamacare repeal bills this spring are treating the distant prospect that the bill could come to the floor in the next two weeks as an emergency—blasting out press releases and urging their networks to once again pack GOP town halls and tie up Congress’ phone lines until the bill is dead for good.

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The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released a new report Thursday on projected changes to the health care marketplace under the Trump administration’s ever-changing approach to the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period.

In particular, the CBO reported that although the individual market will be relatively stable going forward under current law, signups this fall are likely to be suppressed because of the Trump administration’s decision to cut 90 percent of the Obamacare advertising budget and nearly half of the budget for navigators who help people around the country enroll.

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