Joseph White

Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy, Chair of the Department of the Political Science, Director of the Center for Policy Studies, and Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University
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About Joseph

White's research focuses on gigantic amounts of money: the federal budget and the U.S. health care system. He views U.S. health care from comparing to other countries, and budget politics in the context of all policies rather than just the budget deficit. He tends to find that ideas beloved by mainstream "experts" in both budgeting and health care are based on their disciplinary biases, rather than careful analysis of what can be implemented or of all the values that should be considered. He testified to Congress about budget process reform in 2018, and is active in the OECD's work on fiscal sustainability of health care systems.


In the News

"Five Observations about the Debt Deal," Joseph White, The Fiscal Times, August 1, 2011.
"The Mixed (De)Merits of ‘Bending the Cost Curve’," Joseph White, Health Affairs Blog, June 17, 2011.
"Ryan's Budget: Hard to Imagine Something Equally as Extreme," Joseph White, The Fiscal Times, April 7, 2011.
"‘Irrational Budgeting’ Redux," Joseph White, The Fiscal Times, May 20, 2010.
"Self-Righteous Talk about ‘Tough Choices’," Joseph White, The Fiscal Times, May 13, 2010.
"The Fallacy of ‘Tough Choices’," Joseph White, The Fiscal Times, May 11, 2010.
"Dangerous Budget Thinking," Joseph White, The Fiscal Times, May 10, 2010.


"The 2010 Health Care Reform: Approaching and Avoiding How Other Countries Finance Health Care" Health Economics, Policy and Law (October 2012): 1-27.
Describes and analyzes the U.S. health care legislation of 2010 by asking how far it was designed to move the U.S. system in the direction of practices in all other rich democracies.
"From Ambition to Desperation on the Budget" in Obama in Office: The First Two Years, edited by James A. Thurber (Paradigm Press, 2011).
Analyzes how President Obama attempted to build major initiatives into his budget policies, won a few victories, but was blocked as early as May of 2009 by the conservative wing of the Democratic Party. By the end of his first two years he was promoting a deficit panic that threatened Democratic programs and supporting extensions of tax cuts for the rich that he had pledged to let expire.
"My Health Policy Nightmare" Health Matrix 21, no. 2 (2010): 423-436.
Describes what primary and secondary education would be like if it were financed like health care. Then it discusses whether the U.S. would have public education if, when it were created, we had education policy "experts" like our current health policy expert community.
"Public Attitudes toward Health Care Spending aren’t the Problem: Prices Are" (with Jonathan Oberlander). Health Affairs 28, no. 5 (2009): 1285-1293.
Criticizes people who say health care costs are so high because the public won't accept limits. It shows that the major problem is the price of care, not the volume of care; and that regulation of prices is reasonably popular.
"Markets and Medical Care: The United States, 1993-2005" The Milbank Quarterly 85, no. 3 (2007): 395-448.
Explains that the supposed "successes" of "managed care" during the mid-1990s had little to do with managing or interfering with care. Instead, market forces temporarily favored the buyers over the sellers, so restrained prices. Meanwhile, the health care system was shaped by strategic pursuit of market power and some foolish stories that became popular in the financial world.
"False Alarm: Why the Greatest Threat to Social Security and Medicare is the Campaign to “Save” Them" (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003).
Shows why claims that the country cannot afford basic benefits for the elderly are false, while claims about the dangers of long-term budget deficits are a badly flawed policy analysis. It corrects misunderstandings about how Social Security and Medicare work, and shows why claims that the baby boomers or other elderly would get unfair benefits misunderstand both the programs and the economy.
"The Deficit and the Public Interest: The Search for Responsible Budgeting in the 1980s" (with Aaron Wildavsky) (The University of California Press and The Russell Sage Foundation, 1991).
Describes how the budget became the dominant issue of the Reagan years and beyond. In addition to analyzing politics within Congress and the presidency, and the economic stakes in the budget battles, the book documents how an elite panic about the deficits was created and perpetuated.