Recent News

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

KCBS Interview with Dr. Scheffler on GOP’s Proposed Health Plan

Posted on 08 Mar 2017
Dr. Scheffler was interviewed on March 7th on San Francisco’s KCBS radio station, discussing the newly unveiled Republican health care plan, part of the GOP’s efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  In the interview, Dr. Scheffler discusses the implications of changing health care subsidies from being based on income to being based on age, the philosophical battle surrounding health care reform, and how likely the GOP plan is to pass through Congress. You can listen to the full KCBS interview by clicking on the following links: part 1, part 2, part 3.  

Dr. Scheffler Discusses ACA Repeal on ABC7 News

Posted on 07 Mar 2017
Dr. Scheffler was interviewed by ABC7 News on March 6th, discussing the details of the GOP’s newly released “American Healthcare Act.” If House Republicans are successful in repealing and replacing the ACA, millions could stand to lose coverage according. “Under Obamacare, about 22 million people got healthcare and I think more or less over a few years, more than half of those will eventually lose that,” according to Dr. Scheffler. The full interview can be seen on ABC7 News here.

Dr. Scheffler Quoted in USA Today Magazine on the Future of the ACA

Posted on 27 Feb 2017
Dr. Scheffler was quoted in a January 2017 USA Today Magazine article about the future of the Affordable Care Act. The article explores the common ground and areas of agreement between Republicans and Democrats regarding health care reform in the midst of the post-election “repeal versus replace” rhetoric. “Richard Scheffler, professor of health economics at the University of California, Berkeley, explains, ‘I think the Affordable Care Act has done a great job of getting people covered, who, quite frankly, never ever had insurance… It affects people’s lives in so many ways. It makes them healthier, more productive, and kept many of them from financial crisis.’ ”  You can read the full article, entitled “Repeal or Replace,” from USA Today Magazine here.

Petris Center’s Dan Arnold on Covered CA Consumer Choice – California Healthline

Posted on 18 Jan 2017
The Petris Center’s Dan Arnold was recently interviewed by California Healthline on the recent Health Affairs study, co-authored by Arnold, along with the Petris Center’s Dr. Scheffler, Dr. Fulton, and Jon Gabel from NORC, which analyzed consumer choice and premium increases in the California ACA marketplace. “Consumers have to do their own research on these plans,” said Daniel Arnold, a University of California, Berkeley researcher and co-author of the study. “We hear [about] an increase of 13 percent, but when consumers switch plans, they might see an increase no larger than 5 percent.” The full article, including Arnold’s comments, can be read here.

SF Chronicle Op-ed by Scheffler and Arnold: Covered California is a Model for the Whole Nation

Posted on 18 Jan 2017
This week, the San Francisco Chronicle published an op-ed by the Petris Center’s Dr. Richard Scheffler and Daniel Arnold. Entitled “Covered California is a Model for the Whole Nation,” the op-ed discusses the findings of their recent Health Affairs paper “Covered California Premium Increases and Consumer Choice.” Although rises in premiums have dominated the news surround the ACA, Scheffler and Arnold use of Covered California enrollment data (California is the only state which makes enrollment data for its marketplace publicly available) paints a very different story of what enrollees paid – with premium prices 15.2% lower than the average offered price in 2016. The op-ed concludes that the exchange in California was highly effective for consumers and had all the ingredients necessary for competition among insurers – and that Covered California’s success is something the President-elect should look to model. The full op-ed can be read in

New Health Affairs Article on Covered California Premium Increases and Consumer Choice

Posted on 13 Jan 2017
The Petris Center has a new article published in the January issue of Health Affairs, entitled “Consumers Buy Lower-Cost Plans on Covered California, Suggesting Exposure to Premium Increases Less than Commonly Reported.” The paper was authored by the Petris Center’s Graduate Student Researcher Daniel Arnold, Dr. Brent Fulton, and Dr. Scheffler, along with Jon Gabel and researchers from NORC. The full article can be read on Health Affair’s website here.