Overnight Healthcare: Planned Parenthood takes group behind videos to court

Planned Parenthood on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit against the anti-abortion activists who have targeted the group with undercover videos for the last year.

The formal complaint marks the first time that Planned Parenthood has taken legal action against the group, the Center for Medical Progress, and what they call its "conspiracy" against abortion.

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The lawsuit has been long-awaited; the first video came out last July with others following through December. Since then, Planned Parenthood has filed lawsuits in several states to protect its funding, but has refused to take action against the individuals behind the videos – or even name them.

The group said the Center for Medical Progress, and its organizer David Daleiden, violated the laws of three states as well as federal law – claims that have been repeated by congressional Democrats.

"The express aim of the enterprise -- which stretched over years and involved fake companies, fake identifications, and large-scale illegal taping -- was to demonize Planned Parenthood," the group wrote in a complaint filed in San Francisco. Read more here. http://bit.ly/1n3wWaX and read the complaint here http://bit.ly/1P3h5W7

OBAMA DARES GOP GOVERNORS TO TAKE MEDICAID $: The Obama administration has a new idea to entice Republican states to expand Medicaid, though it faces long odds in a GOP-controlled Congress still deeply opposed to ObamaCare.

Obama proposed Thursday that the federal government pick up the tab for all states' Medicaid expansion costs for three years, no matter when that state decides to accept. Under current law, states that expand Medicaid after this year have to pick up at least some of the costs.

About half of states have refused the expansion, including Nebraska, where Obama paid a visit on Thursday. Obama spokesman Josh Earnest trolled the state for its decision in a press briefing en route aboard Air Force One: "Most states have concluded it's a no-brainer for states to make this decision." Read our story here: http://bit.ly/1ZywpPl

CEMENTING THAT LEGACY: Six years later, President Obama says that his favorite moment in the White House was the night the Affordable Care Act passed.

Responding to a Twitter question about his "favorite memory" on Thursday, Obama said it was "the night aca passed; standing on truman balcony with all staff whod made it happen, knowing we'd helped millions." The law passed both chambers on March 21, 2010. He signed it into law on March 23. Tweet here: http://bit.ly/232O7d1 

AFRICA DECLARED EBOLA FREE (FOR NOW): The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the end of Ebola in West Africa, though it warned that more cases could still be recorded in the region.

Each of the three West African countries ravaged by Ebola no longer have any known cases, marking a key turning point in the nearly two-year-old epidemic.

"Today is a good day, it is an important day," Rick Brennan, the World Health Organization's director of emergency risk management, told reporters Thursday at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Still, global health officials are not ruling out more outbreaks in the three countries hardest hit by the disease: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1ORTxBE

MENTAL HEALTH BILL GETS JUDICIARY HEARING The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Jan. 26 on a mental health reform bill from Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGun proposal picks up GOP support House bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Republicans jockey for position on immigration MORE (R-Texas), it announced Thursday, as activity mounts around mental health.

Mental health reform is seen as one of the few areas where there could be bipartisan action this year in Congress. Republicans have touted the measures as their response to mass shootings. Democrats are pushing for gun control measures instead, but say they support mental health reform for its own sake.

Cornyn said at the Republican retreat in Baltimore on Thursday that there is a "tremendous opportunity to make progress" on mental health, given his bill and the other measures moving through Congress. Read more here. http://bit.ly/1Kgcb0B

COMMITTEE UPDATES:

The co-ops are back under scrutiny: Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGOP eyes limits on investor tax break Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Overnight Finance: White House requests B for disaster relief | Ex-Equifax chief grilled over stock sales | House panel approves B for border wall | Tax plan puts swing-state Republicans in tough spot MORE (R-Utah) announced Thursday that he will lead a hearing on the failed ObamaCare co-ops next Thursday, Jan. 21.

Expect fireworks – it will feature the yet-to-be-confirmed head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Andy Slavitt. So far, he's the only witness on the schedule.  

The IRS really is a bipartisan target: The Finance Committee's top Democrat, Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHouse bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Senate confirms No. 2 spot at HHS, days after Price resigns Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax CEO faces outraged lawmakers | Dem presses voting machine makers on cyber defense | Yahoo says 3 billion accounts affected by 2013 breach MORE (D-Ore.) is calling out the Internal Revenue Service over complaints about its "deteriorating customer service," which were exposed in a government audit on Thursday.

A big part of the IRS's problem? It's overburdened – with new Affordable Care Act duties.

PERSONNEL MOVES: Katie Allen, a former health aide to Reps. Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessHarvey response puts squeeze on GOP Medicaid efficiency is needed now, more than ever In the politics of healthcare reform, past is prologue MORE (R-Texas) and Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now House to vote on budget next week Blackburn says she's interested in Corker's seat MORE (R-Tenn.), is joining Horizon Government Affairs as director, government affairs.

TOMORROW'S SCHEDULE:

Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenReport: Biden to write foreword for memoir by transgender activist Biden to Alabama: No more extremist senators Kasich, Biden to hold discussion on bipartisanship MORE will take part in a roundtable at 3:45 p.m. at the Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Final day to purchase coverage on HealthCare.gov.

Republicans return from their annual retreat in Baltimore.

WHAT WE'RE READING:

Critics say ACA risk strategies are having a reverse Robin Hood effect (Washington Post)

Chelsea Clinton on Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Clip shows Larry David and Bernie Sanders reacting after discovering they're related For now, Trump dossier creates more questions than answers MORE' healthcare plan: Mostly false (Politifact)

HPV vaccine rates higher in poor and Latino communities, study finds (The Guardian)

IN THE STATES:

Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaAll five living former presidents to attend hurricane relief concert Overnight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Interior moves to delay Obama’s methane leak rule MORE, John Bel Edwards talk Medicaid expansion in Louisiana (Nola.com)

Kansas medical board clears Planned Parenthood (Associated Press)

Georgia's Democratic caucus announces Medicaid expansion plan (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

ICYMI FROM THE HILL:

Business leaders doubt trade vote happens before elections http://bit.ly/1P3hXtL

McConnell vows 'major effort' on budget http://bit.ly/1Q1dJA0

Taxpayer service deteriorating at IRS, investigation finds http://bit.ly/1PuJMpl

 

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