Our Research in the Media

FTC Microeconomics Conference Features Paper by Daniel Arnold

Daniel Arnold and Christopher Whaley’s paper, “Who Pays for Health Care Costs? The Effects of Health Care Prices on Wages“, was presented at the Thirteenth Annual FTC Microeconomics Conference. It explores the relationship between rising health care costs and slower wage growth for employer-sponsored insurance.

Using hospital market structure and price assessed for Metropolitan Statistical Areas, they find hospital mergers lead to a $521 increase in hospital prices, a $579 increase in mean hospital spending, and a $638 reduction in wages. The results support that hospital mergers affect consumers through lower wages. Both the direct cost of medical care and the indirect cost to wages and should be considered in health care reforms.

Hear Chris Whaley present the paper on Day 1 (PM) of the conference.

Tradeoffs Podcast Episode Features Richard Scheffler

Richard Scheffler speaks in an episode of Tradeoffs, a podcast that focuses on research and policy in the health industry. Having conducted a major study regarding costs of healthcare services in California, Richard would come to encounter the importance of this data in addressing anti-competitive practices. The episode explores the role he played in California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s significant case and settlement with Sutter Health.

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Richard Scheffler to Speak at UC Berkeley Emeriti Association Zoom Event Friday, January 29, 2021

Richard Scheffler hosts a presentation on the future of health policy under The Biden Administration. Join him on Friday (1/29) at 1:30 PST to learn more about proposed and potential direction of healthcare in the U.S.

Listen to his event here. He touches upon public option, healthcare payment systems, the direction of telehealth, the impact of COVID-19, and prescription drug pricing.

CalMatters Publishes Commentary on Xavier Becerra’s Health Policy Experience

Richard Scheffler and Surina Khurana analyze California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s experience in health policy as The Senate confirms his nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services. His record includes defense for the Affordable Care Act, litigation for Sutter Health’s antitrust practices, and persecution for pay-for-delay practices. For his new role in the government’s insurance programs and pays for prescription drugs, he is qualified and well prepared.

Milbank Quarterly Opinion Publishes Article “Why the Biden Administration Should Help States Develop Capitated Public Options”

Richard Scheffler and Thomas Price examine The Biden Administration’s path for implementing public option and states’ successes in using “quasi-public options”. Given potential political difficulty in passing national legislation, they identify key states that may enact public option programs. Risk-based capitation may product higher quality outcomes as a payment model.

The Federal Trade Commission Requests Claims Data from Insurers

The FTC has issued 6 health insurance companies to provide claims data from 2015 through 2020 for a merger retrospective program. With the new mandate to disclose payer-negotiated rates, analysis may shed light on the effects of physician group and healthcare facility consolidation. In a public letter, Richard Scheffler and other economists commented on vertical merger guidelines.

Richard Scheffler has experience in studying how premiums and outpatient prices spiked as California health systems have incrementally acquired physician groups.

Link to article here.

Link to FTC request here.

Richard Scheffler Co-authored Article in Harvard Business Review

Richard Scheffler and other experts in the health care system published “How the Biden Administration Can Make a Public Option Work” in Harvard Business Review. This article argues for the termed Better Care Plan in which Biden-Harris’s public option proposal operates under The Medicare Advantage model with capitated payments. Insurers participating in public option would be in competition when annually required to provide transparent and uniform cost, utilization, quality, and patient experience data to the public.

Richard Scheffler Co-authored Article in Health Affairs

Richard Scheffler worked with colleagues to publish an article titled “Better Care Plan: A Public Option Choice” in Health Affairs on November 16, 2020. This recommends that the Biden-Harris health care proposal not be operated under fee-for-service like traditional Medicare.

If the public option were to be operated under pre-determined risk-adjusted capitation payments to teams of providers, health professionals would be incentivized to provide evidence-based care. In addition, payments made per-member-per-month would provide a predictable revenue stream–which is particularly important as COVID-19 threatens providers’ financial stability.

All authors: George C. Halvorson Stephen M. Shortell Laurence Kotlikoff Elizabeth Mitchell Richard M. Scheffler John Toussaint Peter A. Wadsworth Gail R. Wilensky

Richard Scheffler Named to The Editorial Board of the Milbank Quarterly

On October 22, 2020, Richard Scheffler was named an editorial advisory board member of The Milbank Quarterly, a quarterly peer-reviewed healthcare journal covering healthcare policy. Their publications connect empirical research to practical policymaking. The 38 scholars on the board collectively offer multidisciplinary insight into social, economic, political, historical, legal, and ethical aspects of health and healthcare policy.

Petris Article on Senator Kamala Harris Featured in The New York Times

The Petris Center article, “What Does Senator Kamala Harris’ Record As California’s Attorney General Tell Us About Her Health Policy?” was cited in The New York Times on October 6, 2020. This analysis delves into her history in health policy as attorney general in three areas: antitrust (especially mergers and consolidation), pharmaceuticals, and support of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Richard Scheffler was quoted in The New York Times on Harris prioritizing health care as an attorney general.

Read the full New York Times article here.

Read the full Petris Center article here.