Liberal groups push for health care to dominate the midterms

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Story highlights

  • Senate Republicans are making moves to repeal at least parts of Obamacare
  • A liberal group is trying to capitalize on a critical moment in the health care battle

Washington (CNN)Progressive groups are launching a new data-gathering effort -- starting at protests planned across the country this weekend -- to turn the 2018 midterms into a single-issue battle over health care.

Called "Health Care Voter," the campaign will kick off Saturday, where attendees at more than 125 protests will be asked to fill out cards pledging to cast their ballots based on how their lawmakers vote on rolling back Obamacare. It will also include digital ads pushing the pledge.
It's an attempt to capitalize on a critical moment in the health care battle, as the Senate moves toward repealing at least parts of Obamacare.
    The initiative is how the groups -- including Save My Care, Our Lives on the Line and Health Care for America Now, which are hubs of labor and progressive organizations' health care lobbying efforts -- plan to gather voters' contact information, which can be used to direct those voters toward protests, town halls and more in the coming weeks and months.
    Progressives hope Saturday's "Our Lives on the Line" protests -- initially set for the first day of lawmakers' summer recess, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed the start of that recess -- will demonstrate the strength of their opposition at a key moment, with the Senate potentially still working on its bill.
    The organizers of the Women's March, the tax day protests and April 22's March for Science are involved -- as well as Indivisible, a hub of left-leaning resistance with hundreds of local chapters; the Barack Obama-aligned Organizing for Action and Bernie Sanders' Our Revolution; leading progressive groups including Planned Parenthood, MoveOn.org, the Center for American Progress Action Fund and more.
    Meanwhile, Save Our Care -- which is backed by many of those and other Democratic organizations -- on Tuesday launched radio ads targeting four Republican senators over their votes to proceed to debating the Obamacare repeal effort: Nevada's Dean Heller, Arizona's Jeff Flake, West Virginia's Shelley Moore Capito and Colorado's Cory Gardner.
    The Senate is in the process of voting on a series of amendments as Republicans push to repeal at least parts of former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.
    If the GOP succeeds, it would guarantee that health care will dominate the 2018 midterm election cycle -- when Democrats hope to win control of the House and hold onto 10 Senate seats in states President Donald Trump won in 2016.
    And even if the repeal effort fails, progressives hope to use the GOP's effort to underscore the stakes of the midterms after two previous cycles -- 2010 and 2014 -- that many Democratic voters sat out.
    "The American people will not sit by and be taken back to a time where people with pre-existing conditions died of easily treatable diseases, and people paid more for less comprehensive health care," said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of the pro-women's equality group UltraViolet. "Our lives depend on it, and our senators promised to protect us -- now we promise to make sure their constituents know how they voted."