Good morning. Vitals will be off on Monday. Today's word count is 876 words, or ~3 minutes.
Photo: Lisa Ducret/picture alliance via Getty Images
The number of possible cases of vaping-related lung illnesses being investigated has nearly doubled since last week, and health authorities are looking into the role of contaminants or counterfeit substances, the Washington Post reports.
What they're saying: State and federal health officials say Americans should stop vaping altogether until the source of the illnesses is discovered.
The bottom line: "When you heat a substance, you release chemicals," said Robin Deterding, chief of pediatric pulmonary medicine at Children's Hospital Colorado, per NBC News. "This is a chemistry experiment that you keep inhaling."
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Speaking of vaping, yesterday was a wild news day for Juul.
The big picture: Juul is now not only facing accusations that it fueled the rise of teen vaping, but also that it potentially presents serious health risks to adult users.
Juul's good news: The company announced yesterday that it's rolling out a new checkout system that would crack down on teenagers purchasing its products, as WSJ first reported.
Juul's bad news: It's being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for its marketing practices, the Journal also reported. The agency is investigating whether Juul targeted minors, and the FTC could end up seeking monetary damages.
Some stores have already voluntarily limited or ended e-cigarette sales, and San Francisco recently became the first city to ban e-cigarette sales.
Envision Healthcare and TeamHealth, two of the largest firms that provide physician services to hospitals, are sitting on loans that investors increasingly believe will be more difficult to pay back if Congress enacts reforms to out-of-network billing.
Driving the news: Credit rating agency Fitch placed a $5.4 billion loan from Envision and a $2.7 billion loan from TeamHealth on its "loans of concern" list this week. Investors willing to buy up either company's debt are paying less than 81 cents on the dollar, according to the Financial Times.
Thought bubble, per my colleague Bob Herman: Envision and TeamHealth, both now owned by private equity firms, have been known to engage in surprise billing and have argued they have converted almost all of their business to in-network terms.
Maine is the latest state to start taking more responsibility for its own Affordable Care Act exchange, Axios' Sam Baker writes.
Sam's thought bubble: This is still a far cry from the initial idea for the exchanges, which envisioned most states running their own with only a limited federal fallback.
Immigrants battling severe illnesses who would ordinarily be given special, temporary protection from deportation have been told those protections are no longer available and they must leave the U.S. within 33 days, according to letters sent by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and first reported by WBUR.
Why it matters: USCIS has since said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will now oversee the "medical deferred action" program — a change that had not been formally announced, my colleague Stef Kight writes.
What they're saying: "Because USCIS is not an enforcement agency, it is not appropriate for us to adjudicate requests for suspended enforcement not clearly assigned to us in law or policy," an agency spokesperson told Axios.