Richard Scheffler

Richard M. Scheffler

Title
Professor of the Graduate School
Department
Goldman School of Public Policy
Berkeley Public Health
Phone
(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 M. Scheffler is a Distinguished Professor of Health Economics and Public Policy at the School of Public Health and the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He also holds the Chair in Healthcare Markets & Consumer Welfare endowed by the Office of the Attorney General for the State of California. Professor Scheffler is the director of the Nicholas C. Petris Center on Health Care Markets and Consumer Welfare. He has been a Rockefeller and a Fulbright Scholar, and served as the President of the International Health Economists Association 4th Congress in 2004. Professor Scheffler has published over 200 papers and edited and written twelve books, including The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money and Today’s Push for Performance with Stephen Hinshaw, published by Oxford Press in March 2014, which was supported by a Robert Wood Johnson Investigator Award. He was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, Chile as well as the Chair of Excellence Award at the Carlos III University of Madrid in Madrid, Spain in 2012 through 2013. He was awarded the Gold Medal from Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic for his continued support of international scientific and educational collaboration in 2015.

In the News

June 25, 2020

COVID-19 has already cost California insurers $2.4 billion, new study estimates

The COVID-19 pandemic has cost California’s public and private insurers an estimated $2.4 billion dollars in testing and treatment — about six times the annual cost to treat seasonal influenza in the state, according to a new study by researchers at the Nicholas C. Petris Center at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health.
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.

In the News

June 25, 2020

COVID-19 has already cost California insurers $2.4 billion, new study estimates

The COVID-19 pandemic has cost California’s public and private insurers an estimated $2.4 billion dollars in testing and treatment — about six times the annual cost to treat seasonal influenza in the state, according to a new study by researchers at the Nicholas C. Petris Center at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health.
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 are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
October 4, 2019
Reed Abelson
Consolidation among doctors and hospitals is rising dramatically nationwide, with nearly half of all primary doctors and 45 percent of specialists now working for hospital organizations, according to a new study from Berkeley's Nicholas C. Petris Center on Health Care Markets and Consumer Welfare. The researchers found that, in California, large hospital systems are driving up prices, and often the state's care was far more expensive than in other parts of the country. For example, the California price for an uncomplicated birth was $9,751, compared to a national average of $7,295, adjusted for wage differences. "Most of it is under the radar, and it doesn't get picked up by the regulators," says public health professor Richard Scheffler, the center's director and one of the study's co-authors, noting the difference between high-profile and officially scrutinized hospital mergers as opposed to the quieter takeovers of physician groups. "It's adding more power to a concentrated market," he says.
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April 29, 2019
Darrell Smith
Since 2008, the number of students aged 18-26 who say they have been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety disorder has doubled, according to the preliminary findings of a new national study led by public health and public policy professor Richard Scheffler. The rates climbed from 10 percent of students in 2008 to 20 percent in 2018. "When I saw that those rates doubled, that shocked me. I didn't expect that," Professor Scheffler says. Other findings -- that the rates were highest for those who identified as transgender, Latinx, or black, and that the rates increased as students neared graduation -- also concern him. "This is a national epidemic on college campuses. That's the most astonishing thing I found. ... It's not just a Berkeley problem, it's not just a UC problem, it's a national problem." For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News.
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April 22, 2019
Nanette Asimov
We have a new epidemic on college campuses, says public health and public policy professor Richard Scheffler, discussing his new study of anxiety among students aged 18-26. "Our numbers show that (the number of) students being treated or diagnosed for an anxiety disorder has doubled nationally in the last eight years," he says. Attributing the key sources to financial difficulties and excessive use of digital devices, the team says the rise can't just be due to more awareness or increased availability of health services, because the increasing rates are so much higher than those of other mental health problems, including depression. Anxiety "is now No. 1," Professor Scheffler says. The researchers also found that the rates were highest for those who identified as transgender, Latinx, or black, and that the rates increased as students neared graduation. For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News.
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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.
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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."
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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."

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