This research report is the latest installment in a collaborative research series that leverages the latest and most comprehensive data on state laws, healthcare markets, and healthcare prices in provider and insurer markets in the United States in the last ten years and presents evidence-based information and analyses on the most effective strategies for states to address rapidly consolidating healthcare markets. Additional research findings and analyses are published on the “Market Consolidation” key issue page on The Source’s website.
On April 17, 2020, Health Affairs Blog published “The Proposed Vertical Merger Guidelines And Health Care: Little Guidance And Dubious Economics,” a piece written by Thomas Greaney, JD,a visiting professor of law at UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco and distinguished senior fellow with the UC Hastings/UCSF Consortium on Law, Science and Health Policy, and Richard Scheffler, PhD. The blog post details the lack of scrutiny placed on hospital acquisitions of physician organizations, despite the increasing rate this practice. Greaney and Scheffler assess the newly proposed Vertical Merger Guidelines created by the FTC, including where they may fall short and how they could be improved.
To read a pdf version of the Health Affairs Blog, click here.
To read a web version of the Health Affairs Blog, click here.
On January 27, the first Healthy California for All Commission meeting took place. Professor Scheffler attended the meeting in Sacramento. To view the agenda and a recording of the meeting, click here.
On December 18, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom named Richard Scheffler to the newly created Healthy California for All Commission. The Commission includes 26 members, comprising 13 voting members, eight gubernatorial appointees, four legislative appointees, and five ex-officio, non-voting members. The goal is to develop a plan that would guide the state toward a unified health care system, with broad coverage and access through a single or coordinated financing system, but not limited to a single payer financing system.
To read more from the Governor’s Office, click here.
To read about it from UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, click here.
On Thursday, November 18, Professor Scheffler partook in a debate at the UC Berkeley campus centered on Medicare-for-All. The event was hosted by the Berkeley Conservative Society and the campus Center on Civility & Democratic Engagement. Scheffler and Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, took opposing sides, with Scheffler supporting the proposal and Pipes arguing against it. Scheffler reasoned that the high cost of healthcare in its current state, including the $38 billion price tag of private insurance last year and excess costs due to the inefficiencies created by the disjointed system, would be reduced through a unified, national healthcare system.
On November 21, 2019, The Economist published an article titled “Donald Trump wants hospitals to be more upfront about prices,” referenced a study conducted by Brent Fulton as part of the Petris Center. Fulton found that 90% of American hospital markets were highly concentrated. Additionally, the percent of highly concentrated primary-care physician markets has nearly doubled since 2010, growing from 20% to over 40% in just eight years.
On Thursday, October 3rd, a Petris Center report showing increasing hospital and physician consolidation was included in an article centered on the Sutter Health trial in California. Professor Scheffler was quoted, saying that physician group acquisitions largely go unnoticed despite contributed to an already growing hospital consolidation and market power in the state.
On September 9th, Professor Scheffler was quoted in an article in California Healthline surrounding the upcoming Sutter Health trial on September 23rd. Sutter has been accused of infringing on antitrust laws in the state by decreasing competition and ultimately overcharging patients. Scheffler was quoted saying, “One of the reasons we have such a big problem [with consolidation] is that they’ve done very little. Enforcement has been very weak.”