Tevi Troy has an article in the new issue of National Affairs on presidential transitions, after working as the director of domestic policy for the Romney Readiness Project (or R2P, as it was called). The Romney campaign was the first to benefit from the 2010 Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act, which bumped up the timetable for federal transition support to after the party nominating conventions instead of after elections. The most interesting tidbit in Troy’s article pertains to how Team Romney intended to roll back Obamacare without a full repeal:
One key campaign promise that affected the Department of Health and Human Services was the pledge to repeal Obamacare. This promise elicited widespread skepticism, because even in the optimistic scenarios that had Romney winning the presidency, the prospects for a GOP majority in the Senate were plummeting fast (and the odds of a GOP supermajority of 60 votes were zero). Without full control of both houses, a straight-up, all-out repeal was unlikely.
In response to this challenge, the R2P team, which included some of the GOP’s top health-care thinkers, came up with an aggressive approach that would have both stopped and rolled back the implementation of Obamacare in such an overwhelming way that Senate Democrats would have had to come to the table to discuss some kind of repeal package. The law gives HHS enormous leeway to make a large number of key implementation decisions, and in the hands of an administration eager for repeal, our experts concluded that this leeway would make it possible to effectively nullify the new system through a carefully choreographed series of executive actions. The regulatory rollback would have been so complete that we were confident Obamacare never could have gotten off the ground and that a path toward real, market-based health-care reform would have been opened.
Basically, eat away at enough of the the thing that collapse is inevitable and repeal seems like the better option to Senate Democrats.