Overnight Healthcare: Grand jury indicts activists behind Planned Parenthood videos

An investigation into Planned Parenthood took a bizarre twist on Monday after a grand jury brought charges against the pair of individuals claiming to expose the group instead.

A grand jury in Houston, Texas announced criminal charges against a pair of anti-abortion activists, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, for their roles in creating now-viral videos attacking Planned Parenthood, according to multiple local reports.

The jurors had spent two months reviewing undercover footage produced by Daleiden's group, the Center for Medical Progress, at the request of Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R).  

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Daleiden claimed that his footage showed Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the price of aborted fetal organs as part of the organization's fetal tissue donation program in some states.

As Patrick announced the criminal probe last August, he was deeply critical of Planned Parenthood, suggesting that the group was "dismembering aborted babies" and "selling babies fully intact."

"The people of America and the people of Texas will not accept this callous attitude toward human life, and I will not accept it," Patrick said during a press conference at the State Capitol in August, according to local news station KXAN.

But jurors said Monday they did not find evidence of illegal activity by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.

Instead, Daleiden was indicted for "prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs." He and Merritt were both indicted for "tampering with a governmental record." Read more here. http://bit.ly/23p5J2W

CBO LOWERS OBAMACARE SIGN-UP FORECAST ObamaCare will enroll significantly fewer people than expected in 2016, ending the year with about 13 million customers, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Monday.

The latest projections confirm the Obama administration's previous assessment that fewer people are signing up as the marketplace closes in on its third enrollment season -- the final one under President Obama.

Many of the uninsured people who opt out of coverage on the exchanges are now expected to purchase insurance "directly from an insurer instead," the CBO said. Read more here. http://bit.ly/1VlURNF

MARKEY TO PUT HOLD ON FDA NOMINEE Sen. Edward MarkeyEd MarkeyThis week: Pelosi's test Dem senators drop objection to FCC commissioner Overnight Tech: FCC chief lashes out at GOP | Obama takes on fake news | Bill would delay new hacking powers MORE (D-Mass.) says he's blocking the nomination of Dr. Robert Califf to be commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration until the agency makes reforms to its approval process for opioid painkillers.

Markey said Monday he put a hold on Califf, whose nomination cleared the Senate Health Committee earlier this month and was headed to the floor for a vote.

Markey is upset with the FDA's decision last year to approve the use of OxyContin to treat children as young as 11 years old. He called on the agency to commit to holding advisory committees before approving such painkillers in the future. Read more here. http://bit.ly/1TkrKvy

BLIZZARD DELAYS OBAMACARE VETO VOTE: This weekend's snowstorm has forced House GOP leaders to postpone their vote to override Obama's veto until next week. No precise date has been set yet.  

COMMITTEE UPDATES:

Another week of waiting for Shkreli: The House Oversight Committee has delayed its highly anticipated hearing on drug prices because of the snow – just a few days after chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzGOP rep: Trump has 'extra-constitutional' view of presidency House GOP picks two women to lead committees Chaffetz says he won't probe Trump during transition MORE (R-Utah) ignored the latest request from Martin Shkreli's lawyer to postpone the hearing.

TOMORROW'S SCHEDULE:

Capitol Hill continues to dig out.

WHAT WE'RE READING:

State prisons turn to telemedicine to improve health, save money (Stateline)

5 unanswered questions about Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats offer double-talk on Veterans Affairs Dean drops out of DNC chairmanship race Sanders vs. Trump: The battle of the bully pulpit MORE's healthcare plan (CNN Money)

IN THE STATES:

Louisiana embraces ObamaCare (The Atlantic)

Conservatives target South Dakota Medicaid expansion plan (Argus Leader)

ICYMI FROM THE HILL:

Judge allows former drug CEO Shkreli to testify before Congress

 

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