Policy drift occurs when actors block attempts to adjust policies to changing realities, thereby changing policy impact. We know much about the conditions for policy drifting, but lack theorization of the conditions for reversing the drift by updating the policy. This article examines when and how actors favouring drift decide to reverse it. These actors have different characteristics from those favouring policy update. Based on the case of prescription drug coverage in the US, the article argues that actors promote drift reversal when maintaining the current drift becomes politically risky. Even then, they will act only when able to limit the scope of the reversal. In addition, in order to implement the policy update, actors will use blame avoidance strategies to gain the support of their constituency and soften opposition.
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