By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. An opioid emergency

A Tuesday power lunch? Here are your talking points: President Trump’s drug commission is urging him to declare a national opioid emergency. The report is "meant to give the president some immediate steps that he can take to try to make sure that we stop the death that is happening across the country," said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who heads the commission. "Your declaration would empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the executive branch even further to deal with this loss of life," the commission said. "It would also awaken every American to this simple fact: If this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will."

Here in Indiana, the Bloomington Herald-Times reports the Monroe County Jail is consistently over capacity due to opioid inmates. The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports Allen County is on track to surpass the 804 drug overdoses in 2016. There have been 587 so far this year. And in Mishawaka, Dr. Todd Graham was murdered by a man enraged that he wouldn’t fill an opioid prescription for his wife. He later committed suicide. "He did what we ask our doctors to do," St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter said of Dr. Graham. "Don't over-prescribe opioids."

2. Obamacare market collapse hits 4 Indiana counties

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that four Indiana counties – Decatur, Grant, Jackson and Wayne – no longer have any Affordable Care Act Marketplace options. All four are in the midst of their own opioid crisis. This comes as President Trump is threatening to end federal payments to insurers, which could widen the market collapse. “If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn’t it hurt the insurance companies?” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. The Wall Street Journal reported that a bipartisan group of more than 40 House members released a proposal on Monday aimed at permanently authorizing them. That group doesn’t appear to include any Hoosier members. We reached out to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office to see how the state will respond to these four counties, but hadn’t heard back at this posting.

3. 6th CD field begins to build

State Sen. Mike Crider announced for the open 6th CD last week after U.S. Rep. Luke Messer opted for the U.S. Senate, and told Howey Politics Indiana on Monday, “After a lot of self-reflection, I decided to get in. I was just reelected and that makes things a little easier. At the end of the day, I’ve got four grandkids, ranging from age 9 to 3, and I am worried about what their future will be like, unless we get things started.” Crider sponsored legislation training police officers on opioid and mental health issues. Today, Muncie businessman Jonathan Lamb announced he would run. “Washington, DC is failing the American people and Indiana families. Special interests and career politicians are pushing bad policies without any real-world experience in running businesses or creating jobs,” said Lamb. “As an entrepreneur, I have experienced success and failure. I know the struggles of starting a business and how difficult it is to not only create jobs and grow a company, but just to make ends meet in our current political environment. We don’t need policies that are centered around handing out jobs and subsidies, but rather policies centered around creating opportunities for people and businesses to thrive.” Lamb is the owner of OptoeV, INC, a provider of US Patent Pending battery powered electric farm equipment.

4. Pence a lonely White House Republican

With the dismissal of Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff, Vice President Mike Pence becomes one of the few, true Republicans left in the West Wing. President Trump was a Democrat, donating to Democrats until just a few years ago. Jared and Ivanka Kushner are Manhattan progressives. Economic adviser Gary Cohn is a Democrat. Hope Hicks has no history with the GOP. Tim Alberta, writing in Politico, observes, “Of Trump’s closest advisers, only Mike Pence has any association with the Republican Party. This no longer seems accidental. Trump has, since taking office, consistently referred to Republicans as though he is not one himself – it's invariably ‘they’ or ‘them.’” Unlike past presidents of his party, Trump entered the White House with few personal relationships with prominent Republicans: Donors, lobbyists, party activists, politicians. This liberated him to say whatever he pleased as a candidate, and, by firing Priebus, Trump might feel similarly liberated. The fear now, among Republicans in his administration and on Capitol Hill, is that Trump will turn against the party, waging rhetorical warfare against a straw-man GOP whom he blames for the legislative failures.” With Trump’s approval mired in the 30th percentile, he might seem like a zombie candidate in 2020. Unless he runs as an independent, the nightmare for all beyond his base.

5. Kelly seeks West Wing order

New White House Chief of Staff John Kelly canned Anthony “Mooch” Scaramucci on Monday, a move widely perceived as trying to take control of the chaotic West Wing. Axios’ Jonathan Swan observes: “Kelly is an almost perfect lab test of whether a Trump White House can be functional. He has all the ingredients to succeed: He's been granted unprecedented authority (for Trump), he's revered by all internally and has no dog in the factional wars in the West Wing. If he fails, we'll know this White House is truly ungovernable.” With a hot war brewing with North Korea, the Chinese moving military assets to the border there, and the Russians massing 100,000 troops on the edge of NATO, our hope is that Kelly can focus our President and this thinly-staffed government and prepare for the inevitable crisis.

Thanks for reading, folks. It’s The Atomic!