Recent News

Dr. Richard Scheffler quoted in Commonwealth Blog “AT&T, Time Warner, and the Future of Health Care”

Posted on 22 Jun 2018
On June 12th, a federal district court approved the the blockbuster merger between AT&T and Time Warner, rebuffing the government’s effort to stop the $85.4 billion deal. This decision is widely expected to encourage similar mergers throughout the US economy. Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal, MD, spoke about the potential impacts of this merger on the health care industry in his blog “AT&T, Time Warner, and the Future of Health Care” on the Commonwealth Fund website. The blog cites Petris Center Director Dr. Richard Scheffler’s research on the potential impact of the proposed CVS-Aetna merger, writing that based on Dr. Scheffler’s analysis, “the merger of these Part D plans would significantly reduce competition, and thereby, could potentially increase the prices of drug coverage for Medicare patients.” You can read the full blog post on the Commonwealth Fund site here.

Petris Director Dr. Scheffler Testifies at California Department of Insurance Hearing on Proposed Aetna-CVS merger

Posted on 21 Jun 2018
On June 19th, Petris Center Director Dr. Richard Scheffler testified at the California Department of Insurance’s public hearing regarding the proposed Aetna-CVS merger. The hearing’s purpose was to examine the potential competitive effects of the proposed merger. Dr. Scheffler’s testimony focused on the horizontal overlap between CVS and Aetna in the California prescription drug plan (PDP) market, specifically measuring market concentration before and after the proposer merger and the potential impact on the PDP market. You can watch Dr. Scheffler’s testimony here. His comments begin at the 2:22:40 mark.

Annual Health Policy PhD Award Created in Dr. Richard Scheffler’s Name

Posted on 16 May 2018
The University of California, Berkeley, has launched an annual award to recognize the best PhD paper in health policy and economics. The award is named the “Richard M. Scheffler Prize in Health Economics”, in honor of Petris Center Director Richard Scheffler’s distinguished year. Each year, the award will include a prize ($1K), a framed certificate, and a celebratory lunch with select faculty and students. Chaoran Guo (2018) is the first recipient of the Scheffler Health Economics Award and will start her academic career this fall as an assistant professor in the Department of Economics, Chinese University of Hong Kong. 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, plea

Petris Center Research Cited in New Los Angeles Times Article on the Potential Impacts of AG Becerra’s Lawsuit Against Sutter

Posted on 16 May 2018
The Los Angeles Times published an article covering the potential impacts of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s complaint against Sutter Health for “anticompetitive business practices.” The article, entitled “California Hospital Giant Sutter Health Faces Heavy Backlash on Prices,” discusses the complexities of the legal response alongside the possibilities of state-level and national repercussions. The lawsuit relies on a newly released Petris Center report on consolidation in California’s health care markets, showing higher prices in Northern California for employers and patients. You can read the full Los Angeles Times article here. You can read the recently released Petris Center report “Consolidation in California’s Health Care Market 2010-2016: Impact on Prices and ACA Premiums” here.

Petris Center Report Featured by UC Berkeley School of Public Health

Posted on 07 May 2018
A recent study from the Petris Center was just featured on the UC Berkeley School of Public Health’s website. The study analyzed the relationship between market concentration and health care procedure prices, as well as Affordable Care Act premiums between 2010 and 2016. The analysis found stark differences between Northern California and Southern California premiums and prices, but even further, the report suggests that the “vast majority of counties in California warrant concern and scrutiny, according to the DOJ/FTC Guidelines. It continued, “Consumers are paying more for health care as a result of market consolidation. It is now time for regulators and legislators to take action.” You can read the full story here. The full analysis was published in March in a report called Consolidation in California’s Health Care Market 2010-2016: Impact on Prices and ACA Premiums. You can read it here.

Petris Center Director Dr. Richard Scheffler Receives Berkeley Citation Award

Posted on 02 May 2018
On May 1st, Petris Center Director Dr. Richard M. Scheffler was awarded the Berkeley Citation, among the highest honors the campus bestows on its community. The award is presented on behalf of the Chancellor to individuals whose contributions to UC Berkeley go beyond the call of duty and whose achievements exceed the standards of excellence in their fields. The award was presented to Dr. Scheffler by School of Public Health Dean Emeritus Stephen M. Shortell during the Health Policy and Management Division faculty meeting. Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Alivisatos also presented the award to Dr. Scheffler on May 3rd at the School of Public Health All-School Faculty meeting. Dr. Scheffler joined the Berkeley faculty in 1981. He is a Distinguished Professor of Health Economics and Public Policy in the School of Public Health and Goldman School of Public Policy, and holds the Chair in Healthcare Markets and Consumer Welfare, endowed by the California Attorney General. The citat

Petris Center Director Dr. Scheffler Quoted in Los Angeles Times Article Discussing AB 3087

Posted on 13 Apr 2018
The Los Angeles Times published an article covering the introduction of AB 3087, a California bill aimed at establishing an independent commission to set healthcare prices. The article, entitled “An Ambitious California Bill Would Put the State in Charge of Controlling Prices in the Commercial Healthcare Market,” discusses how prices would be based off Medicare rates and then be determined by this new independent commission. The bill was introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Ash Kalra (San Jose) introduced the bill on April 9th. Dr. Scheffler is quoted as saying that “a commission looking at costs, looking at what drives it, looking at who the actors are — you can call out people [responsible for high prices]… could be very, very powerful.” You can read the full Los Angeles Times article here.  

Dr. Scheffler Featured on KCRW Discussing Pros and Cons of AB 3087

Posted on 13 Apr 2018
Petris Center Director Dr. Scheffler recently joined Dr. Mazer from the California Medical Association to discuss AB 3087 on KCRW radio. The station describes that the new California bill would “allow the state to set prices for healthcare, including doctor’s appointments, surgery and hospital stays.” Prices would be based off Medicare rates and then be determined by this new independent commission. Democratic Assemblyman Ash Kalra (San Jose) introduced the bill on April 9th. The pros and cons are discussed fully here.

Scheffler Op-Ed in SF Chronicle: Single-payer plan is within reach of California

Posted on 04 Apr 2018
Petris Center Director Dr. Richard Scheffler has a new op-ed entitled “Single-payer plan is within reach of California” published today in the San Francisco Chronicle. The op-ed describes how just-released Petris analysis identifies three changes in the California health care system that can generate enough reductions in health spending to finance a feasible path to universal health coverage in the state within the next few years. You can read the full op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle here. The op-ed is based upon the Petris Center report, “Proposal to Use Three Initiatives to Lower Healthcare Spending and Finance Universal Health Insurance Coverage in California,” which can be accessed here. The report was accompanied by a blog on the Health Affairs website, which you can read here.