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: 542053

Reported Deaths: 7035
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1129221671
Ramsey46808847
Dakota41281414
Anoka37372413
Washington24322273
Stearns20596216
St. Louis16440296
Scott15511116
Wright14374124
Olmsted1258796
Sherburne1026779
Carver950443
Clay765889
Rice7432101
Blue Earth679340
Kandiyohi620379
Crow Wing594086
Chisago537648
Otter Tail533173
Benton520296
Mower446532
Winona435349
Douglas433270
Goodhue431271
Nobles396648
Morrison384559
McLeod382354
Beltrami366257
Isanti362259
Polk359166
Itasca358251
Steele348914
Becker345848
Lyon342648
Carlton323352
Freeborn320129
Pine306021
Nicollet299842
Brown290639
Mille Lacs271248
Le Sueur265422
Todd265430
Cass242426
Meeker228037
Waseca226820
Martin209629
Wabasha19793
Roseau194118
Dodge16824
Renville168043
Hubbard167841
Redwood163735
Houston161814
Cottonwood151820
Fillmore15069
Pennington148519
Chippewa143736
Faribault141719
Wadena140021
Sibley132710
Aitkin127036
Kanabec125821
Watonwan12429
Rock121018
Jackson114110
Yellow Medicine108419
Pipestone107425
Murray10149
Pope9926
Swift97518
Marshall84017
Stevens79610
Lake77819
Wilkin75612
Clearwater75514
Koochiching74912
Lac qui Parle73122
Big Stone5544
Lincoln5532
Grant5388
Norman5129
Mahnomen4898
Unassigned48178
Kittson44822
Red Lake3817
Traverse3595
Lake of the Woods2932
Cook1440

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 355069

Reported Deaths: 5797
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk55519598
Linn20164329
Scott18724234
Black Hawk15464306
Woodbury14787219
Johnson1386780
Dubuque13033202
Dallas1082296
Pottawattamie10621160
Story1024747
Warren548486
Clinton531189
Cerro Gordo519386
Webster505991
Sioux502973
Marshall476274
Muscatine454996
Des Moines439465
Wapello4246120
Buena Vista421140
Jasper406370
Plymouth393979
Lee366755
Marion353975
Jones292055
Henry285337
Bremer278260
Carroll277850
Crawford261139
Boone256431
Benton248955
Washington247849
Dickinson238743
Mahaska223349
Jackson217142
Kossuth211461
Clay208325
Tama206371
Delaware201039
Winneshiek192633
Page189020
Buchanan187331
Cedar182623
Fayette182641
Wright178735
Hardin178642
Hamilton177049
Harrison174673
Clayton165455
Butler161834
Mills157320
Cherokee156438
Floyd154542
Lyon153541
Poweshiek152133
Madison152019
Allamakee149051
Iowa144624
Hancock142734
Winnebago135331
Grundy134732
Cass133954
Calhoun133011
Jefferson130535
Emmet127140
Shelby126637
Louisa126149
Appanoose125847
Sac125719
Mitchell125241
Union123732
Chickasaw122015
Humboldt117926
Guthrie116728
Franklin112421
Palo Alto109622
Howard102622
Unassigned10030
Montgomery99737
Clarke98023
Keokuk94430
Monroe93228
Ida88533
Adair84032
Pocahontas83021
Monona80530
Davis79824
Greene76310
Lucas74822
Osceola73816
Worth7008
Taylor65012
Fremont60410
Decatur5889
Van Buren55318
Ringgold53322
Wayne51823
Audubon4939
Adams3264
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