Recent News

Statement of the American Medical Association to the California Department of Insurance

Posted on 05 Jun 2019
The American Medical Association (AMA) appreciates the opportunity to provide our views regarding the proposed merger of CVS Health Corporation (CVS), the largest retail pharmacy chain and specialty pharmacy in the United States and one of the two largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBM), and Aetna, Inc. (Aetna) the third largest U.S. health insurer. We commend the California Department of Insurance (the Department) for scrutinizing this massive proposed merger and the potential negative impact it poses to Californian health care consumers. The full statement is linked here

Petris Center analysis part of AMA Report regarding Aetna-CVS Merger

Posted on 05 Jun 2019
The American Medical Association (AMA) addressed the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the Aetna-CVS merger, using research from Professor Scheffler and the Petris Center: This merger is popularly described as vertical when, in fact, horizontal concerns are also substantial. Aetna and CVS compete in the Stand-Alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) market that covers 25 million people nationally. Whether this merger of rivals in the PDP market runs an appreciable risk of substantially lessening competition is easily determined by a straightforward application of the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines (Merger Guidelines). University of California, Berkeley, health economics professor Richard Scheffler, PhD, has done that analysis. He finds that under the Merger Guidelines, in all but four of the 34 PDP regional markets, this merger would either be “presumed to be likely to enhance market power” or would “potentially raise signifi

The Impact of Aetna’s Proposed Medicare Part D Stand-Alone Prescription Drug Plan Divestiture to WellCare

Posted on 31 May 2019
May 31, 2019by Richard M. Scheffler The purpose of this testimony is twofold. First, I will provide background information on the Medicare Part D stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) market and present recent market concentration trends. Second, I will demonstrate how Aetna’s proposed divestiture of its PDPs to WellCare would increase PDP market concentration. *This paper was revised and reposted on June 17, 2019

Professor Scheffer quoted in New York Times article

Posted on 10 May 2019
An article published May 9, 2019 by the New York Times centered on the much higher prices hospitals charge private insurers, two to three times that of the Medicare price. Professor Scheffer was quoted, saying that “Prices vary widely and are two and a half times higher than Medicare payment rates without any apparent reason.” This article brings this issue to the spotlight, emphasizing the need to reform and price transparency. To read the full article, click here.

Zarek Brot-Goldberg awarded the 2019 Richard M. Scheffler Prize in Health Economics

Posted on 30 Apr 2019
Zarek Brot-Goldberg is the recipient of this year’s Richard M. Scheffler Prize in Health Economics. He is being recognized for his PhD thesis in health economics. During the 2019-2020 academic year, he will be a postdoctoral associate at the Tobin Center for Economic Policy at Yale. The following year, he will be an assistant professor at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the Scheffler Health Economics Award Fund, as this award will be a tribute to Dr. Scheffler for his many contributions to Berkeley and will enable the PhD program to highlight the research excellence in health economics and policy. If you are able to contribute to the dissertation award fund, please either mail a check to University of California, Berkeley Foundation and note “The Scheffler Health Economics Award Fund” or you can click here to

Anxiety Study featured in Sacramento Bee

Posted on 29 Apr 2019
A recent Petris Center study finding double the rate of anxiety in millennials since 2008 was featured in the Sacramento Bee on April 29th. This study has brought widespread attention to the growing mental health problem and will hopefully spark action within the university system. To read the full article, click here

Professor Richard Scheffler presents as part of a UC Berkeley panel on anxiety disorder

Posted on 22 Apr 2019
Professor Scheffler spoke about a recent study finding an increase in anxiety disorder among college students. He presented these findings as part of “A Generation Under Pressure: Talking Mental Health at UC Berkeley,” an event hosted by the Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans as part of the Goldman School of Public Policy on April 18th.

Professor Richard Scheffler Interviewed on KCBS

Posted on 20 Apr 2019
On April 20th, Professor Scheffler was interviewed on KCBS Radio regarding a recent study describing the dramatic uptick in anxiety disorder among millennials. The study found the increase in anxiety disorder to be associated with financial strain and increased screen time on social networks. To listen to the interview, click here

Petris Center Study Featured in San Francisco Chronicle

Posted on 20 Apr 2019
A study describing the rise of anxiety disorder in college students was highlighted in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 18th. The Petris Center study found that increasing rates of anxiety are correlated with increased tech and social media use, as well as financial struggles. Anxiety has grown faster than other mental health problems, such as depression. In 2016, 1 in 5 students on campus were diagnosed with anxiety disorder, with only 1 in 10 in 2008. This study points to an urgency to address anxiety in millennials, on campus and off. To read the article, click here