Jeff Roberson / AP

The Justice Department is looking into the medical coding practices of the Medicare plans sold by Centene, the health insurer disclosed in a new annual regulatory filing.

The agency issued a civil investigative demand on Dec. 15, and the demand is related to the "risk adjustment claims" associated with Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans at Health Net, a company Centene bought last year for $6 billion. Centene said it is complying with the Justice Department's request and "will vigorously defend any lawsuits."

The context and importance: The filing doesn't say exactly what the Justice Department is looking for in those claims, but Centene admitted the probe likely stems from the unsealed whistleblower lawsuit against UnitedHealth Group, which alleges that UnitedHealth inflated its own risk adjustment claims and helped other companies do the same through its consulting firm. An investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found evidence that other health insurers have exaggerated how sick their Medicare members are as a way to get more money.

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Amy Harder, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

Biden to Trump: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life"

Former VP Joe Biden pushed back Thursday against allegations from President Trump, saying he had never profited from foreign sources. "Nothing was unethical," Biden told debate moderator Kristen Welker about his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while he was vice president.

Why it matters: Earlier on Thursday, Hunter Biden's former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released a statement saying Joe Biden's claims that he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son were "false."