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Inside Politics: Health care paradox

GOP candidates attack Obamacare while promising to uphold one of its critical components, a bipartisan opioid bill is a rare congressional success story, Sen. Chuck Grassley's controversial comments, and some out-there midterm conspiracy theories -- it's all on Inside Politics.

Posted: Oct 7, 2018 2:13 PM
Updated: Oct 7, 2018 2:18 PM

Here are the stories our panel of top political reporters are talking about in this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a glimpse of tomorrow's headlines today.

1. Health care paradox

The biggest campaign issue this year may be health care. Democrats are running tens of millions of dollars worth of ads accusing Republicans of trying to eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions.

That's forced Republicans who spent years campaigning against Obamacare into an unfamiliar position.

"One of the great ironies of this midterm cycle is that Republican candidates who were actively supporting efforts to undermine the Affordable Care act are doing ads touting their support for a critical component of it," Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur said.

Republicans would much rather talk about how some Democrats are pushing for an even bigger overhaul of the entire health care system, Kapur said.

"What Republicans are trying to do in response is tie Democratic candidates as much as possible to single-payer (health care) to shift the conversation," he said.

2. Bipartisan success on opioids bill

Little noticed this week amid the Brett Kavanaugh fight was a congressional success story: passage of a bipartisan opioid bill designed to curb an epidemic that killed more than 70,000 Americans last year.

It passed 98-to-1 in the Senate and 393-to-8 in the House.

"One of the provisions would require the US Postal Service to screen for fentanyl from packages that come from overseas," The Daily Beast's Jackie Kucinich said. "But more broadly, this opioid bill is one of the few things that senators and congressmen can actually talk about that is truly bipartisan and truly impacts people in many of their states."

3. Grassley's controversial comments

Sen. Chuck Grassley had a lot to celebrate last week. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he shepherded the GOP's successful efforts to get Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court.

But a lot of people on Capitol Hill were wincing when he suggested that the reason there are no Republican women on the committee is because "it's a lot of work."

Although Grassley quickly backtracked, critics slammed his remarks as sexist.

"Now he did come back pretty quickly after he made those comments -- after an aide prompted him to do so -- to correct himself, that he actually thinks women worker harder than men. But it's just remarkable that he made a comment like that," CNN's Kaitlan Collins said. "Especially while we were in the middle of this conversation about women, the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment and women being in the Senate."

4. Eye on governors' races

While most midterms observers are focused on the battle for control of Congress, the 36 gubernatorial races could be just as important.

"The GOP is defending 26 seats, a record," CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson said. "And this is very much about 2021, when congressional re-districting begins. The governors and lawmakers in over half the states -- including Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio -- will have the power to re-draw congressional districts. So 2018 isn't just about who controls Congress right now -- it's also who controls Congress for the next decade."

5. A crazy conspiracy theory

Yes, the 2018 campaign is focused on issues like health care, taxes and President Trump. But on the fringes of the internet, some truly odd conspiracy theories are dominating conversations, says Lisa Lerer of The New York Times.

"We all remember 2016 was like the conspiracy-theory election, in part because President Trump, of course, pushed the birther theory for a long time. And Hillary Clinton has been at the center of just about every conspiracy theory for the past two decades," Lerer said.

But there's a new one about the September 27 Kavanaugh hearing that Lerer said she found especially astonishing.

"It's that Christine Blasey Ford was not actually testifying for herself up there during that hearing, but instead it was Amy Schumer playing Christine Blasey-Ford giving the testimony," she said. "That's the kind of stuff we're in seeing in the dark corners of the internet these days."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 270157

Reported Deaths: 3297
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin579261084
Ramsey24528470
Anoka19211213
Dakota18738176
Washington12351104
Stearns1200389
Scott735654
St. Louis712297
Wright646135
Olmsted604730
Sherburne499538
Clay435954
Carver397312
Blue Earth367011
Rice350331
Kandiyohi337613
Crow Wing306729
Nobles293828
Chisago27778
Benton256338
Otter Tail251415
Winona240928
Mower232822
Polk222221
Douglas211929
Morrison207521
Lyon189810
McLeod18089
Beltrami177115
Goodhue173126
Becker16769
Itasca165223
Steele16396
Todd161412
Isanti159115
Carlton148310
Nicollet144523
Freeborn13625
Mille Lacs129030
Le Sueur12899
Waseca128710
Pine11625
Cass11538
Brown112610
Meeker10117
Martin97020
Roseau9443
Hubbard92822
Wabasha8961
Dodge7770
Watonwan7604
Redwood75118
Chippewa7437
Renville68818
Sibley6844
Cottonwood6800
Wadena6706
Pipestone65618
Aitkin64722
Rock6259
Houston6012
Fillmore5910
Yellow Medicine55310
Unassigned52756
Murray5173
Pennington5076
Kanabec49711
Swift4835
Faribault4650
Pope4620
Stevens4342
Clearwater4156
Marshall4047
Jackson3981
Lake3463
Koochiching3275
Wilkin3175
Lac qui Parle3123
Lincoln3081
Norman3006
Big Stone2711
Mahnomen2404
Grant2256
Red Lake1833
Kittson1786
Traverse1190
Lake of the Woods821
Cook570

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 210482

Reported Deaths: 2173
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk31270322
Linn13252158
Scott1022075
Black Hawk10209126
Woodbury9870111
Johnson900835
Dubuque866490
Story637819
Dallas595555
Pottawattamie574666
Sioux349925
Webster330928
Marshall327841
Cerro Gordo323041
Clinton303637
Buena Vista290214
Muscatine266964
Des Moines266116
Plymouth257937
Warren254610
Wapello239971
Jones221112
Jasper202739
Marion191518
Carroll188220
Lee188015
Bremer176012
Henry16847
Crawford168215
Benton157414
Tama145140
Jackson13608
Delaware134721
Boone127711
Washington126513
Dickinson126210
Mahaska119027
Wright11425
Buchanan10789
Page10774
Hardin105810
Clay10434
Harrison101428
Clayton10084
Cedar98913
Hamilton9877
Mills9806
Calhoun9787
Fayette9588
Lyon9458
Floyd92614
Kossuth9214
Poweshiek91512
Butler8943
Winneshiek88910
Winnebago87423
Iowa86711
Louisa79916
Hancock7947
Chickasaw7853
Grundy77310
Sac7617
Cherokee7484
Cass73519
Appanoose7336
Shelby7184
Allamakee71111
Mitchell7074
Emmet70123
Guthrie69215
Union6866
Franklin67619
Humboldt6495
Madison6414
Jefferson6121
Palo Alto6044
Unassigned5810
Keokuk5237
Pocahontas5072
Howard4999
Osceola4941
Greene4860
Clarke4564
Ida42810
Monroe42812
Montgomery42610
Davis4225
Taylor4162
Adair4066
Monona3912
Fremont3432
Worth3330
Van Buren3294
Lucas3056
Decatur2950
Wayne2836
Audubon2811
Ringgold1832
Adams1521
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