The Blue Sky Consulting Group is a public policy and economics consulting firm specializing in strategic and analytical services for public, not-for-profit, and private sector clients. Our team of subject matter experts and staff come from the highest levels of government, academia and the private sector to assist clients with strategic or analytical challenges across a broad range of practice areas. From providing strategic advice to elected officials to analyzing complex programmatic, fiscal or economic issues, the Blue Sky Consulting Group brings an unrivaled level of experience, analytical rigor, and strategic problem-solving ability to bear on the most challenging issues our clients confront.

Featured Publications


Analysis of the Factors Influencing the Cost of Building Affordable Housing in Oregon

Providing enough affordable housing is a significant challenge across the country. For low-income households, high housing costs can lead to frequent moves that interfere with children’s school performance or force families to live in unhealthy or substandard housing. In order to identify the factors that are contributing to increased costs in Oregon, the legislature engaged the Blue Sky Consulting Group to study tax credit financed affordable housing projects developed in the state over the past two decades. The resulting analysis identified the important benefits of affordable housing while also shedding light on the factors that can influence costs, such as larger projects that benefit from economies of scale or local factors such as labor costs, system development charges, or community opposition that may add to costs. Click here to read the full report.

Medi-Cal Facts and Figures: Crucial Coverage for Low-Income Californians

Blue Sky Consulting Group researched and wrote this for the California HealthCare Foundation. Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, is the state’s health insurance program for low-income Californians, including 40% of all children, half of all people with disabilities, over a million seniors, and nearly 4 million adults. It also pays for more than 50% of all births in the state and 58% of all patient days in long-term care facilities. In total, 13 million, or one in three, Californians rely on the program for health coverage. Medi-Cal pays for essential primary, specialty, acute, behavioral health, and long-term care services. Click here to read the report.

Medical Loss Ratios For California’s Dental Insurance Plans: Assessing Consumer Value And Policy Solutions

This peer-reviewed paper in the September 2018 issue of Health Affairs analyzes California dental plans’ medical loss ratios [MLR] reported in California for 2014 and 2015. California passed a law in 2014 requiring dental plans to report MLRs but stopped short of setting minimum thresholds. Len Finocchio and Katrina Connolly found that while millions of Californians were in large-group plans that achieved high MLRs, millions more were in other plans with relatively low MLRs. A legislatively mandated MLR would provide a standardized financial tool and potentially ensure value for dental products. Given the multiplicity of dental products and the varying numbers of covered lives in those products, setting MLR thresholds poses a challenge for stakeholders. Click here to go the Health Affairs abstract.

Improving Mental Health Services Integration in Medi-Cal: Strategies for Consideration

This paper, commissioned by the Blue Shield of California Foundation, describes some of the current challenges facing California’s system of mental health services, explores strategies for improving mental health integration, and proposes scenarios for changing aspects of law, policy and organizational practices that could promote improved integration. Click here to read the full report.

Accountable Communities for Health: An Evaluation Framework and Users’ Guide

Accountable Communities for Health (ACHs) are place-based initiatives in which community, clinical, and policy strategies are coordinated with the aim of improving health outcomes and controlling health care costs. The multi-sector nature of ACHs combines strategies addressing specific chronic diseases or other health conditions in a mutually reinforcing way. The framework provides a methodology or “road map” for communities, funders, or government agencies interested in conducting an evaluation of local ACH initiatives or understanding and interpreting the results of such an evaluation. Click here to read the full report.

 Featured Projects


Quantifying Integrated Physical and Behavioral Health Care in Medi-Cal: A resource to measure care across systems for adult Medi-Cal enrollees

Blue Sky Consulting Group recently completed a measurement resource for the California HealthCare Foundation to quantify care and outcomes for Medi-Cal beneficiaries with serious mental illness and/or substance use disorders who receive care across multiple systems. Even in the current siloed system, there are some avenues by which to measure care across systems. This resource offers a set of valid and reliable measures that managed care plans, county mental health plans, and county substance use disorder programs can collect, track, and use to measure and improve integration of care across systems. Click here to access the resource.


Bay Delta Conveyance Facility Report

BSCG assisted the State Treasurer’s Office with an analysis of affordability and financing issues related to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan Conveyance Facility (aka the Delta tunnels). The BDCP is an ambitious and controversial habitat conservation plan proposed by the governor involving the construction of two large, underground tunnels intended to transport water from the Sacramento River around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Our report was intended to provide a context for better public understanding of the potential costs of the project and an assessment of whether those costs are affordable for the water contractors and their customers who are expected to pay for the project. In addition the report explores a number of critical issues related to financing the cost of construction through revenue bonds and risks associated with that financing.


Reducing Poverty In Sonoma County 

Addressing poverty is one of the most important and most challenging issues counties confront. This report identifies several promising, research based strategies that can be employed at the county level to reduce poverty. This report further examines the impact of a county-level living wage policy, including information about the number and types of workers affected and the likely cost to the county to implement such a policy.


Impact of a Tax Credit for College Savings 

The managers of the state’s 529 college savings program, known as Scholarshare, sought assistance in estimating the fiscal and economic effects of adopting a tax credit to encourage additional saving for college. Our analysis showed how many additional Californians would open accounts in response to the tax credit and how much more existing participants would save. We also estimated the economic effects of such a program, and determined the cost to the state’s general fund.


Implementing SB71: Sales Tax Exclusions for Green Manufacturing Equipment 

The State Treasurer's Office is relying on the regulations and evaluation criteria we helped develop to award sales tax exclusions to qualified manufacturers of solar panels, fuel cells, electric cars, and other alternative energy and advanced transportation technologies.


California Budget Challenge  

Next 10's Budget Challenge engages Californians in the state's crisis-plagued budgeting process. The nonpartisan internet tool allows users to call the shots on how much to spend on schools, prisons and other state programs - and how to pay for them. We have provided up-to-date policy options and budget figures for the project since 2007.