In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Can Hillary Clinton's presumed 2016 frontrunner status be reduced to her chromosomes? That view seems to have penetrated the D.C. punditocracy, as relayed by NBC's newly christened "Meet The Press" moderator Chuck Todd on Monday.

Todd said in an interview on the Charlie Rose Show that the former secretary of state and U.S. senator would not be the prohibitive favorite "if she were running to be the second woman president."

"If she were running to be the second woman president, I think she would not even be considered a frontrunner," he said, according to a transcript provided to TPM. "She'd be just considered another candidate."

Rose and Todd referenced the "historical narrative" that Clinton would have in 2016 -- one that wasn't as prevalent in 2008, when she was running against another historical candidate in Barack Obama. "This time hers seems that kind of powerful," Todd said. "It does feel that powerful."

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After Virginia Republicans blocked Medicaid expansion under Obamacare in June, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe was defiant. He pledged to return in the fall with an alternative plan that would unilaterally help cover low-income Virginians. "We're moving forward," he said.

But the plan McAuliffe announced Monday falls far short of pushing through the Medicaid expansion his state's Republicans have fought so hard.

McAuliffe's plan, formulated after extensive discussions between state and federal officials, will directly cover only about 25,000 Virginians -- a fraction of the 400,000 low-income residents who would be covered by Medicaid expansion. So for now, it seems, the GOP has won in its showdown with the governor over this key provision of Obamacare.

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When Congress returns this week, House Republican leaders' mission will be to act swiftly to fund the government and avoid the drama of a shutdown confrontation.

The task appears simple: pass legislation to keep the federal government operating as it currently is when the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1 — no extraneous provisions, no gamesmanship like last year.

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Obamacare's premiums are going down on average in 2015, according to a report released last week by the Kaiser Family Foundation, and that's good news overall and particularly good news for the federal government that helps pay the premiums for more than 80 percent of enrollees.

But, as always, there is a bit of a catch. Premiums are changing in a way that consumers need to be aware of. The benchmark being used to determine their subsidies under the law is changing in some places -- meaning some people will need to switch to a new plan to keep paying the same premium or they might have to pay more to keep the plan they currently have.

After the keep-your-plan fiasco of last fall, the Obama administration has set up an auto-renew feature for Obamacare enrollees in 2015. The administration has also issued guidance that insurance companies should notify customers that they can shop on the insurance marketplaces for other deals. But the big unknown is: Will they? If enrollees go the auto-renew route without exploring the market, they could be stuck paying more for their coverage.

While this all could create some hiccups during the upcoming enrollment period, it's not a bug. It's part of the law's structure. The government needed some baseline for its subsidies. And that does put a bit of the onus on consumers to make sure they aren't left with a bigger bill. Here's how it works:

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