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

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continues to be coy about whether it will uphold or undermine the Affordable Care Act, as the first full open enrollment period of the Trump administration approaches.

In response to an investigation by TPM that revealed the administration has abandoned partnerships that were key to boosting enrollment in years past through outreach to women, young adults, Latinos and African Americans, a spokeswoman from HHS declined to commit to doing any outreach or promotion at all.

Read More →

A wide array of groups that partnered for several years with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the White House to promote open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act say this year has brought a deafening silence from the Trump administration, with no sign the partnerships will continue.

Both representatives of the former partner groups and former HHS officials say the relationships with gig economy companies, youth organizations, churches, women’s groups, and African American and Latino civil rights non-profits were critical to keeping Obamacare’s markets functioning, and their termination is a clear example of sabotage.

“The failure to invest in local assistance and these enrollment partnerships will reduce enrollment, increase costs and drive up the uninsured rate,” warned Andy Slavitt, former head of HHS’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Obama. “Hopefully they will reconsider taking these destructive actions.”

Read More →

By early August in recent years, Luis Torres was in the midst of a health care blitz, meeting weekly with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the White House to prepare for the start of the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period on Nov. 1.

As the policy director for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Torres was a key member of the Latino Affordable Care Act Coalition—a group of local and national organizations that since 2013 has worked with HHS and the White House to develop outreach and education campaigns specifically aimed at helping millions of Latinos sign up for health insurance.

But this year, Torres told TPM, that flurry of activity came to an abrupt halt.

Read More →

In yet another reversal of a previous Justice Department stance on voting rights, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ DOJ has weighed in on a pending Supreme Court case regarding Ohio’s practice of purging inactive voters from its rolls.

The department argued in an amicus brief that Ohio’s voter purges, which have disproportionately hit Democrats and African Americans, are lawful. That’s the opposite of what the DOJ under Attorney General Loretta Lynch said about the case last year.

“Among other things, accurate registration lists are essential to prevent[ing] voter fraud,” the brief asserts.

Read More →

From its inception in January, unified GOP control of Washington has been anything but unified.

But over the last few months, as back-biting and finger-pointing between the executive and legislative branches has escalated, Republicans in Congress have taken several concrete steps to wrest power away from the president and protect both domestic and foreign policy from Donald Trump’s meddling.

“You’re seeing a whole series of public statements and actions by an increasingly wider range of Republican senators to push back on this White House,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) told reporters last week. “This is part of a broader theme about more and more questions being raised about the path forward about the separation of powers.”

From health care to national security to the federal budget, here are the ways Congress is clawing back power from the executive branch, and shoring up the guardrails to contain Trump.

Read More →

A broad coalition of insurers, hospitals, and medical groups penned an open letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday warning him not to make good on his repeated threat to cut off billions in cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments that help subsidize care for low-income Americans.

“Without these funds, consumers’ access to care is jeopardized, their premiums will increase dramatically, and they will be left with even fewer coverage options,” warned the coalition, comprised of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Benefits Council, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Read More →

Amid deep uncertainty about the fate of the cost sharing reduction payments (CSRs) to insurers that subsidize health insurance for the sickest Americans, and with the Trump administration publicly toying with cutting off the payments, Congress may take matters into its own hands.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who chairs the committee that oversees health care policy, is shopping around a proposal to appropriate funding for the CSRs for one year, giving some stability to an insurance market that right now is at the mercy of Trump’s month-to-month whims.

Read More →

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.

Read More →