Recent News

Dr. Scheffler Quoted in LA Times Article on Pharma Industry’s Attempt to Undermine California’s new Drug Pricing Transparency Law

Posted on 15 Dec 2017
Petris Center Director Dr. Richard Scheffler was quoted in the article “Drug industry lawsuit shows it wants to keep patients in dark on pricing”, published today in the Los Angeles Times. The article covers Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s lawsuit seeking to derail a SB 17, a new California law that will require 60 days’ notice before drugmakers raise prices beyond a certain threshold once it goes into effect on January 1, 2018. In the article, Dr. Scheffler discusses the pharmaceutical industry’s motivation for the lawsuit and future actions they may take. You can read the full article, part of David Lazarus’ Consumer Confidential column, here.

New Health Affairs Blog – When Markets Are Heavily Concentrated, Managed Competition Cannot Work: Lessons From California

Posted on 05 Dec 2017
Today, Health Affairs published a new blog by Petris Center director Dr. Scheffler, entitled “When Markets Are Heavily Concentrated, Managed Competition Cannot Work: Lessons From California.” The blog is a response to Dr. Alain Enthoven, who writes that we should have “market control” and not “political control”  of our health system. It discusses how high levels of hospital and physician market concentration in California have prevented competition from happening in many counties and have increased prices for consumers – meaning competition alone is unlike to work to make coverage and care accessible and affordable in California. Dr. Scheffler ends by calling for governments and markets to work together, such as Covered California, or an even bolder approach, like a single-payer plan. You can read the full blog on Health Affairs‘ website here.

Dr. Scheffler Interviewed on KCBS Radio about CVS-Aetna Merger

Posted on 04 Dec 2017
On December 3rd, drug retailer CVS and health insurer Aetna announced their companies’ $69-billion merger deal. Aetna’s CEO Mark Bertolini said the deal will “dramatically further empower consumers,” while Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health, said it will “create a platform that is easier to use and less expensive for consumers.” Are these claims true, and could the merger actually help benefit consumers with lower prices? Dr. Scheffler weighed in on the consumer impacts of the merger today in an interview on KCBS radio. You can listen to the full audio of his interview here.

Dr. Scheffler’s Letter to the Editor in the New York Times: Rising Rates of Anxiety in College Students

Posted on 30 Oct 2017
On Sunday, Dr. Scheffler’s letter to the editor was published in the New York Times Magazine. The letter was a response to the article “The Kids Who Can’t: Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?”, and discusses the skyrocketing rates on Anxiety Disorder on college campuses. As rates of anxiety disorder have nearly doubled for 18-20 year old college students between 2008-2015, the letter calls for universities to improve the environments they are creating for their students. Dr. Scheffler is currently the Principle Investigator for the study “Freaked out Millennials: The Causes and Consequences of Anxiety Disorder”, funded by the Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans. You can read the full letter here and can learn more about the “Freaked Out Millennials” study here.

Insurer Market Power Lowers Hospital and Physician Payment Rates: Scheffler and Arnold’s Research featured in Open Minds

Posted on 02 Oct 2017
Dr. Scheffler and Arnold’s new research on health care market concentration was featured in Open Minds this week, which provides daily market intelligence and industry analysis for executives in behavioral health, mental health, and social services. The Open Minds piece, titled “Insurer Market Power Lowers Hospital & Physician Payment Rates”, discusses Scheffler and Arnold’s findings as reported in their Health Affairs article “Insurer Market Power Lowers Prices In Numerous Concentrated Provider Markets”, which found that insurers have the bargaining power to reduce provider prices in highly concentrated provider markets. In particular, hospital admission prices and cardiologist, radiologist, and hematologist/oncologist visit prices were all lower. You can access the abstract of the Open Minds article here; full text access is limited to subscribers.

Scheffler and Arnold Op-Ed: Corporations should act as their own insurance companies in our broken healthcare market

Posted on 26 Sep 2017
Dr. Scheffler and Dr. Arnold have a new op-ed published in the Philadelphia Inquirer and on Philly.com: “Corporations should act as their own insurance companies in our broken healthcare market.” The op-ed discusses the findings of their recent Health Affairs paper, “Insurer Market Power Lowers Prices In Numerous Concentrated Provider Markets” and specifically looks at private sector solutions to market concentration. The op-ed discusses how increasing market concentration across the hospital, physician, and insurance sectors has resulted in higher prices for consumers – and also increased market power for insurers. When insurers’ markets became more concentrated, they were able to bargain down these price increases by about half – however, there is little evidence that the benefits of reduced prices are passed on to consumers. One approach to dealing with this market concentration is governmental intervention with anti-trust actions. However, Scheff

Dr. Scheffler Talks Costs of California Single Payer Bill with Capital & Main

Posted on 15 Sep 2017
Last week, Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled a new “Medicare for All” bill with the support of 16 Democratic senators. Single-payer advocates and health-care experts say Sanders’ proposal could inject new momentum for single payer in California, where a single payer bill (SB-562) passed the state senate before stalling in the Assembly in June. To understand the potential costs, revenue sources, and the role of the 2018 governor’s race in influencing a California single payer proposal, Capital & Main, an online publication covering pressing economic and social topics in California, interviewed Dr. Scheffler. You can read the full article here.

AirTalk Interview: Dr. Scheffler Weighs in on Bernie Sander’s Universal Healthcare Bill

Posted on 15 Sep 2017
On September 13th, Senator Bernie Sanders publicly unveiled a new version of his single-payer healthcare bill. The bill is increasingly gaining traction from prominent Democratic senators – but aside from political debate, what does universal health care need to succeed in America? 89.3 KPCC’s AirTalk dives into analysis with economists and policy experts, including a discussion of the economic considerations single payer and universal healthcare with Petris Center Director Dr. Scheffler. You can listen to the full AirTalk Segment here. Dr. Scheffler’s comments run from 29:45 – 43:03

Scheffler and Arnold’s Research Featured Widely in Industry Media

Posted on 13 Sep 2017
Dr. Scheffler and Dr. Arnold’s new study, “Insurer Market Power Lowers Prices In Numerous Concentrated Provider Markets”, was featured widely across industry media following its publication in Health Affairs last week. Read more at the following links: Becker’s Hospital Review: Insurer Bargain Power Associated With 5% Price Decrease In Highly Concentrated Provider Markets, Study Finds Healthcare Dive: Study: Concentrated Insurer Markets Lead To Lower Hospital, Physician Prices HealthExec: Insurers Can Match Bargaining Power Of Consolidated Providers But Consumers Don’t Benefit Medical Xpress: Readmission Rates Decline When Hospitals Develop Skilled Nursing Facility Networks Medscape: Insurer, Provider Concentration Lowers Physician Fees