Good morning … If you want to do a gender-reveal party before having a baby, that’s your business, but please try not to ignite a massive wildfire, scorching thousands of acres, in the process.
The Medicare Advantage industry — which is estimated to cost the federal government $250 billion in 2019 — remains under the microscope for potentially gaming the payment system, my colleague Bob Herman reports this morning.
Driving the news: Dialysis chain DaVita this week agreed to pay $270 million to settle allegations that physicians in its medical group fudged how sick their patients were in order to get paid more from MA plans — which in turn got higher payments from the federal government.
What's next: The Department of Justice is continuing its investigation of the coding practices of the largest health insurance companies in the country.
How it works: Health insurers that sell MA plans assign "risk scores" to their members, based on their health conditions. The more conditions someone has, the higher the risk score and the more money the insurer gets for covering them.
CNBC broke the news yesterday that the Food and Drug Administration had “seized ‘thousands of pages of documents’ in a surprise inspection” of Juul’s headquarters last week. The agency was looking mainly for information about how Juul markets its e-cigarettes, according to CNBC.
The big picture: FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has been very clear about his willingness to crack down on e-cigarettes because of their popularity with teens — and Juul is at the front of the pack.
By the numbers: Juul’s sales grew by more than 600% in just one year, making it the dominant e-cigarette brand in 2017, according to data the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released yesterday.
States can do a lot to improve treatment for opioid addiction, especially through their Medicaid programs, former HHS official Emma Sandoe writes in Health Affairs.
Medicaid pays for more addiction treatment than private insurance, making it an important part of any solution to the opioid crisis.
Go deeper: How to change treatment for opioid addiction
More than a third of Americans eat fast food on any given day, according to new CDC findings.
Why it matters: The vast majority of fast food is bad for you. Eating too much unhealthy food can contribute to obesity and associated conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
1 counterintuitive thing: Although conventional wisdom holds that fast food is especially popular in low-income areas where grocery stores are sparse, the CDC found that fast food consumption goes up as income goes up.