Spearheaded by Richard Scheffler, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, and Stephen Shortell, Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus, the research team carried out their vision of going from pen to policy. The team shared findings about a potential public option plan for the state with state legislators, stakeholders, and press. This plan would lower healthcare costs while maintaining quality for Californians. With a prominent discussion panel moderated by the Deputy Cabinet Secretary and featuring various healthcare pioneers, insightful questions were answered, swaying doubts were quelled, and productive ideas were exchanged.
“Two emeritus professors at UC Berkeley School of Public Health have proposed a California public option health insurance plan called Golden Choice that could save more than $243 million in its first year and lower insurance premiums throughout the state marketplace.”
“Our proposal and our plan here is unique in the sense that it builds on the foundation of the delegated model in California, where providers accept full or partial risk, and they are paid to do that—they accept a capitation rate, which is generally risk adjusted,” Scheffler said.
“We are health law and antitrust, health services research, and health economics researchers specializing in health law and policy issues. We have studied private equity and other corporate investment in physician practices and examined the effects on patient care, workforce composition, market consolidation, and costs. Our comments focus on the application of the Non-Compete Rule to physicians and other health care professionals.”
“New research by the University of California-Berkeley has identified ‘hot spots’ where private equity firms have quietly moved from having a small foothold to controlling more than two-thirds of the market for physician services such as anesthesiology and gastroenterology in 2021.”
“Private equity has done so much buying that it now dominates several specialized medical services, such as anesthesiology and gastroenterology, in a few metropolitan areas, according to new research made available to KHN by the Nicholas C. Petris Center at UC-Berkeley.”
“’During the past decade, over one-half of the 1,500 hospitals targeted for a merger were in another geographic market than the acquiring hospital or system,’ said Fulton. ‘But these mergers were rarely scrutinized by regulators because they were considered to be across markets.’
“However, large employers and insurers span these markets, potentially enabling these systems to exert market power across markets,” Fulton said.”
“‘Generally speaking, cross-market hospital mergers get a pass by the FTC. But since more than half of the mergers from 2010 to 2019 were located in a different commuting zone than the acquirer, we can’t ignore it,’ said Brent Fulton, lead author of the study and an associate research professor of health economics and policy at University of California, Berkeley.”
Health economic researchers from the University of California, Berkeley on Thursday shared their analysis of Indiana’s healthcare markets — determining that the concentration of insurers and hospitals has contributed to higher costs over the last decade. Prices at non-merged hospitals, for instance, remained relatively flat over the time period they analyzed, while those entities that had been involved in a merger or acquisition had prices increase by roughly 50%.
The presentation was at a joint meeting between interim committees on finance and public health, and dozens of policymakers reviewed the state-commissioned studies. Read about it here.