Richard Scheffler

Richard M. Scheffler

Distinguished Professor of Health Economics and Public Policy, Director, The Nicholas C. Petris Center
Goldman School of Public Policy
School of Public Health
(510) 643-4100
Research Expertise and Interest
health economics, mental health economics, Health Market Analysis, health policy and economics, health policy and management, Health Workforce, Human Resources for Health, global health, health and social behavior, consumer choice
Research Description

Richard Scheffler's research is based in health economics and public policy, and spans both a domestic and international focus. He is is the Director of the Nicholas C. Petris Research Center on Healthcare Markets and Consumer Welfare, which focuses on consumer protection, affordability, and access to health care, especially for low and middle-income populations. His research focuses include competition and regulation in health care markets, the ACA and Covered California, universal health coverage, and the organization and financing of mental health services, particularly ADHD and Anxiety Disorder. He also holds the Chair in Healthcare Markets and Consumer Welfare endowed by the Office of the Attorney General for the State of California, and served as the Co-Director of the Berkeley Forum for Improving California's Healthcare Delivery System.

In the field of Global Health, he is the Director of the Global Center for Health and Economic Policy Research, and has focused on issues of global health workforce, pay for performance, and social capital and health. Dr. Scheffler has been a visiting scholar at the World Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, and the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, and has consulting for the World Bank, WHO, and the OECD on global health economics issues.  Professor Scheffler has been a Fulbright Scholar at Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile in Santiago, Chile, and at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, and in 2015, was awarded the Gold Medal for Charles University in Prague for his longstanding and continued support of international scientific and educational collaboration.

Dr. Scheffler's current research projects include the multi-year study "Impact of Health Care Market Concentration on Prices and Premiums," supported by the Commonwealth Fund, and "The Causes and Consequences of Anxiety Disorder in Millennials," supported by the Goldman School of Public Policy.

In the News

April 18, 2019

Anxiety ‘epidemic’ brewing on college campuses, researchers find

The number of 18- to 26-year-old students who report suffering from anxiety disorder has doubled since 2008, perhaps as a result of rising financial stress and increased time spent on digital devices, according to preliminary findings released Thursday by a team of UC Berkeley researchers.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the campus.
February 11, 2019
Catherine Ho
Public health professors Richard Scheffler and Stephen Shortell have issued a paper proposing a path to universal health coverage in California that would provide coverage for 3 million currently uninsured Californians. The plan, estimated to cost $17.3 billion a year, would rely on a mix of new taxes, contributions from the state's general fund, and premium payments. Professors Scheffler and Shortell presented their plan to a group of California health policy researchers and advocates on Friday. "We're hoping for some interest from Sacramento," professor Scheffler says. Ken Jacobs, chair of Berkeley's Labor Center says he thinks the $17 billion cost-estimate is too high, since it doesn't take into account federal funds that the state could access if it were to expand Medi-Cal to more uninsured people. "I look at the (financing) as throwing some ideas on the table to start a discussion," he says.
FullStory (*requires registration)

November 14, 2018
Reed Abelson
Rapidly growing hospital consolidations in the past decade have largely eliminated competition and raised the cost of hospital admissions in most cases, according to a new analysis by researchers at Berkeley's Nicholas C. Petris Center on Health Care Markets and Consumer Welfare. The findings defy hospitals' claims of savings, demonstrating that in the 25 metropolitan areas with the highest rates of consolidation between 2010 and 2013, prices for hospital stays increased between 11 percent and 54 percent in most areas in the following years. According to public health professor emeritus Richard Scheffler, director of the Petris Center, prices have risen especially steeply when large hospital systems buy doctors' groups. "It's much more powerful when they already have a very large market share," he says. "The impact is just enormous."
FullStory (*requires registration)

September 5, 2018
Catherine Ho

California's increasing consolidation of hospitals and medical practices is leading to higher health insurance premiums and medical costs, a new study led by public health professor emeritus Richard Scheffler has found. The higher prices are attributable to such factors as hospitals adding facility fees to pay for overhead costs, and larger institutions being able to charge higher prices for their name recognition. "There's a potential branding effect," Professor Scheffler says. "People are willing to pay more, insurance companies like to have that in their plan, they charge more for it." Another, more serious, problem is that larger health systems have more power to set prices in negotiations with health insurers. "Say they bought up 80 percent of physicians out of orthopedic practices," Professor Scheffler says. "You can see how they have market power now, they can charge more for it now because people can't go any other place. That has potential regulatory implications in how they use that market power."

FullStory (*requires registration)