Internal Update

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.

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 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 Center Releases Study Estimating the Cost of COVID-19 in California

On June 25, 2020, the Petris Center released a study titled, “What are the Health Care Costs of COVID-19 in California?: State and County Estimates” by Richard M. Scheffler, Daniel R. Arnold, Brent D. Fulton, Alexandra Peltz, Taylor L. Wang, and John Swartzberg. The report estimates the cost of COVID-19 for a 5% prevalence in the state at $2.4 billion. The authors assessed county level costs and adjusted for hospitalization rates by age group, payor mix (Commercial, Medicare, Medi-Cal, uninsured), and a county hospital cost index. The report also includes cost estimates for 15%, 30%, and 60% prevalence of the disease in the appendix.

 

Read the full report here.

 

Richard Scheffler Appointed to Healthy California for All Commission by Governor Gavin Newsom

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.

Professor Scheffler Debates Medicare-for-All

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.

To read more, click here

Petris Center analysis part of AMA Report regarding Aetna-CVS Merger

The American Medical Association (AMA) addressed the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the Aetna-CVS merger, using research from Professor Scheffler and the Petris Center:

This merger is popularly described as vertical when, in fact, horizontal concerns are also substantial. Aetna and CVS compete in the Stand-Alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) market that covers 25 million people nationally. Whether this merger of rivals in the PDP market runs an appreciable risk of substantially lessening competition is easily determined by a straightforward application of the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines (Merger Guidelines). University of California, Berkeley, health economics professor Richard Scheffler, PhD, has done that analysis. He finds that under the Merger Guidelines, in all but four of the 34 PDP regional markets, this merger would either be “presumed to be likely to enhance market power” or would “potentially raise significant competitive concerns and often warrant scrutiny.” Professor Scheffler concludes that this merger would raise PDP premiums in markets across the country, including California.

The full report is linked here

Professor Richard Scheffler presents as part of a UC Berkeley panel on anxiety disorder

Professor Scheffler spoke about a recent study finding an increase in anxiety disorder among college students. He presented these findings as part of “A Generation Under Pressure: Talking Mental Health at UC Berkeley,” an event hosted by the Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans as part of the Goldman School of Public Policy on April 18th.