Recent News

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 “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

Audio: Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief discusses Scheffler and Arnold’s paper

Posted on 13 Sep 2017
Health Affairs editor-in-chief Alan Weil recorded an audio introduction to the September issue of Health Affairs, including a discussion of the special market concentration section and a discussion of Dr. Scheffler and Dr. Arnold’s paper “Insurer Market Power Lowers Prices In Numerous Concentrated Provider Markets.” You can listen to the full audio here.

Dr. Fulton Discusses Healthcare Market Concentration Trends: Healthcare Dive Interview

Posted on 13 Sep 2017
The Petris Center’s associate director, Dr. Brent Fulton, was interviewed by Healthcare Dive about US market concentration trends and his new study in Health Affairs. Among other topics, the Healthcare Dive interview delves into physicians market concentration trends, as primary care physician concentration increased the most, in part due to such providers being acquired by larger care delivery systems. “My results are consistent with the fact that more physicians are joining larger physician organizations and that more physicians work either directly for hospitals or in organizations that are owned by hospitals,” said Dr. Fulton, “We knew hospitals had been buying up physician organizations but we didn’t know the extent. The increase of hospital ownership of primary care organizations was interesting, because we hadn’t realized the magnitude had increased so much.” You can read the full interview on Healthcare Dive’s website here.

Commonwealth Fund Publishes Briefs on Petris Market Concentration Research

Posted on 13 Sep 2017
The Commonwealth Fund published briefs on the Petris Center’s new market concentration research. These briefs provide a summary and synthesis of the Petris research published in the September issue of Health Affairs. “Insurer Market Power Lowers Prices in Numerous Concentrated Provider Markets” highlights Drs. Scheffler and Arnold’s Health Affairs paper of the same name and identifies the essential bottom line of their work: in markets with high provider and insurer concentration, insurers have bargaining power to reduce prices – however, these price reductions likely will not lead to lower insurance premiums for consumers without additional government intervention or a more active role of large purchasers of health care. “Health Care Market Concentration Trends in the United States: Evidence and Policy Responses” highlights Dr. Fulton’s article of the same name, identifying his research’s bottom line: as market concentration in the

Just Released in Health Affairs – Insurer Market Power Lowers Prices In Numerous Concentrated Provider Markets

Posted on 06 Sep 2017
Dr. Scheffler and Dr. Arnold’s new paper “Insurer Market Power Lowers Prices In Numerous Concentrated Provider Markets” was released in Health Affairs this week. The paper uses prices of hospital admissions and visits to five types of physicians to analyze how provider and insurer market concentration—as measured by the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI)—interact and are correlated with prices. Scheffler and Arnold find evidence that in the range of the Department of Justice’s and Federal Trade Commission’s definition of a moderately concentrated market (HHI of 1,500–2,500), insurers have the bargaining power to reduce provider prices in highly concentrated provider markets for cardiologist, radiologist, and hematologist/oncologist visit prices. However, a policy dilemma arises from these findings: there are no insurer market mechanisms that will pass a portion of these price reductions on to consumers in the form of lower premiums. The paper concludes that large purcha

Just Released in Health Affairs – Health Care Market Concentration Trends In The United States: Evidence And Policy Responses

Posted on 06 Sep 2017
Dr. Brent Fulton’s new paper “Health Care Market Concentration Trends In The United States: Evidence And Policy Responses” was published in Health Affairs this week. Dr. Fulton’s study analyzes market concentration trends in the United States from 2010 to 2016 for hospitals, physician organizations, and health insurers, finding that hospital and physician organization markets became increasingly concentrated over this time period. Concentration among primary care physicians increased the most, partially because hospitals and health care systems acquired primary care physician organizations. The paper finds that a large number of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are highly concentrated – in 2016, reaching 91% for hospitals, 65% for specialist physicians, 39% for primary care physicians, and 57% for insurers. The paper concludes that public policies that enhance competition are needed, such as stricter enforcement of antitrust laws, reducing barriers to