Our daily digest is a mid-day update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re watching:


Trump Touts Tax Reform:

The focus in Washington is shifting to tax reform. Wednesday, President Trump touted his plan to overhaul the system calling it a “once in a generation” opportunity to cut taxes.

It comes after suffering a major defeat this week on health care.

Trump rallied in Indianapolis saying he wants to cut taxes for middle-class families to make the system simpler and fairer. The plan would pare back individual rates from seven tax brackets – down to three.

The president is also vowing to fight for a 20 percent corporate tax rate, a decrease from the current 35 percent rate.

Trump says the cuts would make the US more appealing to business and in the long run create jobs.

“It’s time to take care of our people to rebuild our nation and to fight for our great American workers,” President Trump said.

Trump also says his proposal will eliminate loopholes that benefit the wealthy and that it’s not good for him.

But the claim is impossible to verify since he’s refused to release his tax returns.

Trump also says under the plan, most families would be able to file their taxes on a single sheet of paper.

Trump’s proposal has some Texas Democrats challenging whether it would help the middle class.

Congressman Lloyd Doggett releasing a statement today saying in part:

“Despite repeated claims of ‘no tax cuts for the rich,’ this plan does the opposite by raising the bottom rate and cutting the top rate, eliminating the estate tax, and expanding a loophole to line Trump’s pockets. Like a Trump University degree or a Republican healthcare bill, the gap between what they say it does and what it actually does should be what ends it.”

Meanwhile, Texas’ Senior Sen. John Cornyn is praising the plan — saying it would help Texans keep more of what they earn.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues and the President to enact reforms that spur economic growth and put money back in the pockets of hardworking Texans,” Sen. Cornyn said in a statement.


Freestanding ER Rule Changes:

Not every emergency room is the same.

Texas lawmakers hope a couple of new laws will hold freestanding ERs to a higher standard after hearing from thousands of Texans who say they were duped.

The clinics have popped up all over Texas in the past ten years.

To a lot of people, they look like urgent care clinics and patient advocates say therein lies the problem.

People will walk in thinking the visit will cost a couple hundred bucks and leave with bills in the thousands.

The Texas Legislature passed two laws this past session that directly target freestanding ERs.

One requires them to let patients know which health insurance plans they are part of before they’re admitted.

Advocates say that’s key, because very few standalone ERs partner with insurance providers.

The Texas Association of Health Plans says some of the most common symptoms patients try to treat at a freestanding ER are sore throats, fevers and coughs.

“At a freestanding ER, you can pay $3,000 to have a cough treated. At an urgent care, that same treatment could be about $180,” Jessica Sandlin with the Texas Association of Health Plans said.

Lawmakers also broadened the scope of a law that allows patients to dispute high medical bills.

It allows Texans to file a complaint with the Department of Insurance and get some of their out-of-pocket costs reduced through mediation.

More importantly, patient advocates say you should think twice before you walk in that you’re at the most appropriate facility for your medical needs.


Political Analysts:

Democrat Harold Cook and Republican Ted Delisi are in tonight to discuss President Trump turning to Democrats to try to get something done on health care. We also discuss the clash between Governor Abbott and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner over Harvey recovery costs.


A New Battle at the Alamo:

Reimagining the Alamo…

There’s been plenty of input about the restoration efforts around the historic San Antonio site. But now, the state Republican Party is raising some concerns about how the current Land Commissioner is leading the project.

It’s also upset the former Land Commissioner. Jerry Patterson joins us to discuss why he’s urging Commissioner George P. Bush to remember the 1836 Battle of the Alamo as it “reimagines” the site.


Capital Tonight airs weeknights at 7 p.m. on Spectrum News.


Posted by Karina Kling