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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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