SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL/KGET) — Ahead of a key vote to approve a single-payer, state-run health care system in California, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party is preparing to take away party endorsements from Assembly members who reject the proposal.
Progressive Caucus Chairman and California Democratic Party Executive Board Member Amar Shergill confirmed Thursday the group will take steps to make sure members who vote “no” on the legislation will not be endorsed by the California Democratic Party for the upcoming election.
No endorsement from the party could mean a major lack of activism, support and funding for those seeking reelection.
“Any Assembly member that thinks they can ignore the party, ignore labor, ignore people, vote against us and then still get the endorsement might find they have a tougher reelection battle than they thought,” Shergill said.
In order to be endorsed by the Democratic Party, delegates in each district must reach a strong consensus to support the endorsement. Shergill said there are many districts around the state where the Progressive Caucus has more than 40% of the delegates that are not going to endorse someone who fails to support CalCare.
The pre-endorsement process begins Feb. 5, just days after the Assembly is poised to hold a floor vote on the proposal — Assembly Bill 1400 — Monday.
AB 1400 would create CalCare, which would eliminate private health insurance and create a state-run health care system in California. The legislation is linked to Assembly Constitutional Amendment 11, a proposal that would raise taxes on workers and businesses to fund the system.
CalCare is backed by several labor groups and the California Nurses Association, while facing fierce opposition from more than 120 medical and business groups.
The Progressive Caucus earlier this week sent an email to caucus members and all lawmakers in the state’s Democratic Party outlining specific steps to take should their Assembly member reject or not vote on the bill.
“Any Assemblymember that fails to vote Yes on CalCare should expect to have their endorsement pulled,” the memo read.
Because AB 1400 was introduced last year, it must get out of the Assembly Monday or the proposal dies for the year.
AB 1400 cleared its first two hurdles in the Assembly Health Committee and Assembly Appropriations Committee earlier this month.
Democrats in the Health Committee agreed to pass the bill in its first hearing, but some noted they would likely reject it when it reaches the Assembly floor, including Assembly members Autumn Burke, D-Inglewood, and Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Davis. Neither Burke nor Aguiar-Curry has responded to a request for comment.
In the Appropriations Committee, Assembly Member Akilah Weber, D-San Diego, was the only Democrat who did not vote. Her office has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Shergill said Assembly members who lose their endorsement over the vote could have their endorsement saved at the Democratic Convention later this year.
“But hey, it might not happen,” he said.