By Quin Hillyer at the Washington Examiner;

Time and opportunity still exist to replace Obamacare.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., ought to make it a priority, and should make clear he is open to pushing through a budget resolution next month to make it happen.

It can’t happen without the budget resolution, because that’s the only way they can avoid a bill-killing filibuster and pass the healthcare reform with a bare majority of 50 votes (plus Vice President Mike Pence) in the Senate.

Here’s why and how it could still come together.

I reported in January that a number of conservative groups, under the leadership of former Sen. Rick Santorum, was working hard to craft a new Obamacare replacement that could both pass Congress and work well in the real world. Behind the scenes, those groups (indeed, representatives from a growing number of groups) have continued to meet and tweak their plan, and they seem just a few weeks away from being able to unveil it.

When they unveil it, expect a host of such groups to make a concerted effort to rally grassroots support and give courage to House and Senate members to pass it. This is an amazing, even unprecedented project, truly growing up from activists and thinkers rather than being the usual top-down, elected-official-led exercise in sausage-making.

I listened in on a March 21 conference call among numerous interested parties, and received further updates within the past week from Santorum.

The White House has been quietly but constructively supportive of the project, I am told, and should provide strategic and communications support this time that is well planned, rather than the more seat-of-the-pants effort we all saw last year. Pence, in particular, has been personally engaged.

Politically, the now-defunct assessment had been that passing a health-policy overhaul would scare too much of the public in an election year, making it a nonstarter. The growing understanding, though, is that Republicans are already at risk of losing to a “blue wave” this fall anyway, and that bold action to energize conservative grassroots might be the only way to stop the wave….

[The rest is here.]

 

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