Making Health Care Affordable: A Proposed Public Option for California

This virtual Public Discussion Panel was hosted by Members of the Emeriti Academy on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. 

Despite implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) through Covered California, the states’ successful health insurance exchange, health care remains unaffordable or inaccessible for many Californians. This is due not only to rising premiums, but the cost of co-insurance and deductibles, language, transportation and related barriers. People living in low resource communities are particularly disadvantaged. 

To help address the affordability of care, Professors Richard Scheffler and Stephen Shortell of the UC- Berkeley School of Public Health have developed and tested a Public Option plan for the state called Golden Choice. Their analysis shows how such a plan can be offered at lower premiums using the state’s integrated medical groups that are accountable for quality and the total cost of care. Further, Scheffler and Shortell demonstrated that their proposal will introduce an additional competitive effect. Representatives from advocacy and provider organizations participated in a discussion panel. In the second half of the webinar attendees had the opportunity to ask questions. This topic is timely as the state’s new Office of Healthcare Affordability begins its deliberations on how to make healthcare more affordable. 

Read a short article about the webinar titled "How to Make Health Care More Affordable in California? Two Emeriti have a Plan"  by UC Berkeley Retiree Cathy Cockrell. 

Watch the YouTube Recording of the webinar. 


Kenneth Polse retired from the Berkeley Optometry and Vision Science faculty in 2006 and remains active in the University.  He is currently a Professor of the Graduate School at UC Berkeley.  He is  actively involved with the UC Emeriti Health Insurance Committee.   Dr. Polse continues to teach an undergraduate seminar in Health Care Policy, mentoring students as a Professor of the Academy in the UC Berkeley Emeriti Academy.   Some of Dr. Polse’s honors included, UC Berkeley Sarver Endowed Chair, Member, National Advisory Eye Council (NIH), and  Senior Fulbright Fellow.  After retirement, Dr. Polse was elected to the UC Berkeley Optometry Hall of Fame.


Presentation: "Golden Choice" State Public Health Insurance Option

Professor Stephen Shortell UC Berkeley Stephen M. Shortell, Ph.D., M.P.H, MBA, is the Blue Cross of California Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Management Emeritus, Dean Emeritus, and Professor of the Graduate School at the School of Public Health and Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley where he is the Founding Director of the Center for Healthcare Organizational and Innovation Research (CHOIR) (link is external) and Co-Director of the Center for Lean Engagement and Research (CLEAR) in healthcare. He was recently elected to the Modern Healthcare Hall of Fame.



Richard Scheffler is a UC Berkeley Professor in the Graduate Schools of Public Health and the Goldman School of Public Policy. He is the Director of the Nicholas C. Petris Center(link is external) on Health Care Markets and Consumer Welfare. In 2019, he was appointed(link is external) by Governor Newsom to the Healthy California Commission(link is external). Dr. Scheffler has received the Berkeley Citation, one of the highest honors awarded by UC Berkeley.

COMMENTS: Cristina Inglese, Executive Director, Commercial Products, L.A. CARE HEALTH PLAN

Cristina Inglese, L.A. CareCristina Inglese is Executive Director of Commercial Products at L.A. Care Health Plan.  Inthis role, Ms. Inglese is responsible for delivering top line revenues, net operating results and outstanding compliance and quality score results for the L.A. Care Covered, L.A. Care Direct and PASC-SEIU product lines.  She brings over 20 years of health care experience in business management, product development and performance.  Before joining L.A. Care in 2016, Mrs. Inglese served as Director of Product Development at Blue Shield of CA, where she was responsible for the product portfolios for all commercial lines of business (individual, small, large, and custom groups).  Cristina holds a Bachelor's in Business Management from Woodbury University.


Crispin Delgado, Executive Director, Insure the Uninsured Project Crispin Delgado currently serves as Executive Director of Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP). Prior to joining ITUP, Crispin served as Public Policy Director for Northern California Grantmakers. Over his 20-year career, Crispin has worked in academia, local government, philanthropy, and the non-profit sectors. As Program Officer at Blue Shield of California Foundation, Crispin led a robust portfolio on the Health Care and Coverage team. His work primarily focused on improving access to and quality of care for all Californians. In this same role, Crispin was the primary architect of a multi-funder collaboration that sought to prepare California’s safety net for alternative payment methodologies. Crispin holds bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s in public policy (focus: public health) from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Emeriti Academy Panel Organizing Committee:

Professors Philip Cowan, Michael Harris, Kenneth Polse, Steven Segal and Stephen Shortell