Public Affairs Discussion Group to cover recent ”Doc Fix” bill

Headshot of Joseph White, political science professor at CWRUJoe White, the Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy, will lead a discussion on “The ‘Doc Fix:’ Bipartisan Policy on Medicare!?” at the Public Affairs Discussion Group meeting Friday, April 10, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Dampeer Room of Kelvin Smith Library.

White will discuss the House of Representatives passage of H.R. 2 on March 26.

The bill is known as the “Doc Fix” because, in addition to some other measures, it would repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate formula, a measure to control spending on physician services that, as of April 1, officially imposes a 21 percent cut on physician fees under Medicare. The issue has festered for more than a decade, with continual “patches”—one or two year postponements—rather than a permanent “fix.”

The bill was negotiated by Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and passed by a margin of 392 to 37. President Obama declared that, “this is how Congress is supposed to work.”

At the same time, the bill has been criticized for raising the budget deficit and threatening the welfare of the elderly. It also promises dramatic changes in how doctors are paid, which nobody knows quite how to implement. White will address the question: “Is agreement only possible by assuming magical solutions?”

Since 1989, faculty, emeriti, students and staff have gathered on Fridays for a brown-bag lunch and to discuss topics in public affairs.

For updates and more information about the Friday lunch schedule, visit