Perry is logging hours in a downtown office building, engaging in lengthy, informal policy discussions with experts, mostly from conservative think tanks.
Last Monday, he discussed health care policy with a group including Joseph Antos, the Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.
Antos said the freewheeling session lasted about four hours, and was "a good starting point" for a discussion focused on the principles of health policy. But he said he had no sense of specific policy proposals Perry might ultimately choose to advance. "We have no clue whatsoever about that, and it was none of our business, frankly," he said. "We did not discuss what happens the day after tomorrow."
Of the governor, Antos said: "He was actively engaged the entire time. He asked good questions. This is a man who is genuinely interested in what we’re doing in health policy, and genuinely concerned."
Other participants included Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute; Avik Roy, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the opinion editor at Forbes; and Thomas Miller, a resident fellow at AEI who studies alternatives to the Affordable Care Act.
"Sometimes you meet with the principle and their advisers, and they're mostly selling you on what they're thinking and what they already have," Miller said. "The governor showed that it was a real conversation. It was an extended period of time with no fuss, no frills, no filters."
In August, Gov. Perry gave a major policy speech at the Heritage Foundation.