Calif. Democratic Delegates to Dem Officeholders - 'No bystanders' on SB562 Single-Payer Healthcare

July 17, 2017 |

The fallout from California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon's decision to kill California Senate Bill 562 continues to make political waves within the California Democratic Party.

In a letter dated July 13 and sent to every Democratic Assemblymember, Senator, Statewide Officer and Gubernatorial candidate, a group of  Assembly District Delegates in the California Democratic Party (CDP) has issued what could be described as an ultimatum - get on board with a single payer healthcare system or do not expect an endorsement in their respective electoral bids. The letter was signed by over 356 delegates.

After SB 562, the Healthy Care Act, sponsored by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D - Bell Gardens) and Sen. Toni Atkins (D - San Diego) passed the State Senate in early June, was killed by Rendon before any action could be taken by the Assembly. That act has created waves within the Democratic Party where a large faction of delegates and several interests groups are demanding action on the bill.

Noting the possible decimation of the Affordable Care Act by current Republican efforts in Washington DC, the letter says it is imperative "that elected Democrats create a solution that provides affordable healthcare for all Californians." The letter also states that it is unacceptable to allow the bill to be shelved and furthermore, it is not acceptable to vote against the legislation.

The letter goes on to say that "Any elected official that fails to lobby for release of the bill, votes against the bill, or abstains on this bill is unlikely to receive an endorsement vote from the undersigned delegates in 2018. There are no passengers on the journey and no bystander in this fight."

Among the 10 delegates representing the Ninth California Assembly District who signed the letter include Elk Grove residents Amar Shergill, Tracie Stafford, and Maureen Craft. Shergill, who also serves as a CDP Executive Board Member said he expects that anywhere from 600 to 1,000 CDP delegates will only support a gubernatorial candidate who embraces SB 562 or credible plan for a single-payer system.

"Hundreds of Democratic Party delegates have responded in this letter by making it clear that any elected official that fails to support SB 562 and fails to work on a solution, may face strong opposition when they seek Party endorsement leading up to the next election," Shergill said. 

Shergill criticized Rendon's actions saying he strangled the legislation without consulting party members and constituents. Furthermore, Shergill noted Rendon did not offer suggestions on how to address the issue.    

When Rendon killed the bill, a statement was released where he called it "woefully inadequate" and said it did not address costs control or financing. Many Democratic Assemblymembers have remained relatively silent on the legislation, and it will be in this environment that Democratic Ninth District Assembly representative Jim Cooper will be holding a town hall meeting in Elk Grove on Tuesday, July 18.   

“At a time when the Republicans and Trump administration are working hard to eliminate healthcare for millions of Americans, it is imperative that elected Democrats in California do the work of the people to ensure that every one of us has affordable healthcare," Shergill added.

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