Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase have joined forces to disrupt the healthcare industry. Their goal is to slash healthcare costs for their 1.1 million employees.
The plan is to create an independent healthcare company for their employees. According to The New York Times, the three companies provided few details and the initiative is still in the early planning stages. While the exact details are still unclear, one thing is certain. They are some of the most ambitious and influential companies in the country. Amazon, the online retail giant; Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company led by the billionaire investor Warren Buffett; and JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States by assets.
In a statement issued by Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, the initiative would be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints.”
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, said in a statement, “the healthcare system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty,” “Hard as it might be, reducing health care’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort.”
The announcement caused stocks of many established healthcare companies to plunge and speculation about whether the new company would make it easier for consumers to understand their healthcare costs and access to medical records, or tackle more ambitious projects, such as the wider use of telemedicine and virtual doctor visits. There is also speculation, that even though the partnership would focus on improving the healthcare of their employees, any solutions that develop could eventually spread throughout the industry. Thus, the benefit for consumers would be if a blueprint is developed to control surging healthcare and drug costs, without the deterioration of patient care. This is a scenario that the U.S. government and the healthcare industry have struggled to achieve for many years.
“The ballooning costs of health care act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” Mr. Buffett said in a statement. “Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable.”