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

Amid crumbling support for the Senate GOP’s last-ditch bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the authors of the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill dropped revised text late Sunday night in an attempt to woo dissenting Republicans back into the fold.

The changes attempt to offer something for everyone: more insurance deregulation and the weakening of protections for people with pre-existing conditions for far-right skeptics like Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), re-jiggered state numbers to soothe the fears of moderates Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and an extra sweetener for the home state of bill author Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

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In his statement Friday sticking a knife in the GOP’s last-ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) pleaded with his colleagues—again—to return to following basic Senate lawmaking procedure and work together across the aisle. Specifically, he called for the resumption of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on a bipartisan fix for Obamacare’s vulnerable markets that Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) abruptly called off earlier this week amid GOP fervor for another whack at repeal.

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A new report from the Brookings Institute estimates that 21 million people will lose their health insurance by 2026 under Senate Republicans’ latest bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The report cautions that it’s a very conservative estimate that doesn’t take into account the bill’s per-capita Medicaid caps and the individual market turmoil the plan would likely create. The true number of uninsured people, the authors note, is likely much higher.

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In a blistering statement released Friday morning, the association representing state Medicaid directors took Congress to task for rushing a bill to the floor that would completely overhaul the nation’s health care system in just a few years and deeply cut the federal money available to states to cover hundreds of millions of people.

“We are concerned that this legislation would undermine efforts in many states and fail to deliver on our collective goal of an improved health care system,” wrote the board of the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD), a 12-member body elected by all 56 U.S. Medicaid directors.

Matt Salo, the executive director of the NAMD, told TPM that while it’s nearly impossible for his members to achieve “lock-step unanimity” on anything, especially major, controversial pieces of legislation, the board “felt the concerns were strong enough and universal enough that this was an important message to say on behalf of their peers.”

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A report released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows a sharp disparity in how the new Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill treats states that expanded Medicaid and those that did not.

Overall, the report estimates, states would see $160 billion less in federal health care funding over the next decade under the proposed law, with 35 states and D.C. losing federal dollars. But Medicaid expansion states would bear the heaviest burden by far, losing 11 percent of federal support on average. Republican-controlled states that did not expand Medicaid, however, would get an average increase of 12 percent.

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The Senate is barreling toward a vote next week on a recently unveiled bill that would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act and convert Medicaid into a shrinking block grant. With just a few days left to muster the 50 votes necessary to pass the bill before the clock on reconciliation expires, the bill’s conservative authors are pressuring their moderate colleagues to get on board, despite the fact that the bill includes none of the protections moderates have demanded for months, nor any of the concessions that they won in previous Obamacare repeal bills.

With only a single committee hearing, no markup, no complete score from the Congressional Budget Office and only 90 seconds of floor debate allocated for the bill, and no time to hold a conference committee with the House, moderates are essentially being told to fall in line and swallow the bill as is.

If Senate Majority Leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) holds a vote next week, he’ll be throwing under the bus moderates who promised their constituents opioid treatment funding, protection for Medicaid, and equal treatment for people with pre-existing conditions.

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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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