Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase To Tackle Health Care

 

Growing health care costs “act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” said Berkshire Hathaway CEO and chairman Warren Buffett in a statement. “Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable. Rather, we share the belief that putting our collective resources behind the country’s best talent can, in time, check the rise in health costs while concurrently enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes.”

SOURCE: Brian Klepper

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase to tackle employee health care costs, delivery

Mike Snider, USA TODAYPublished 7:57 a.m. ET Jan. 30, 2018 | Updated 8:49 a.m. ET Jan. 30, 2018

Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffet have more wealth than the poorest half of the US population.

A corporate America dream team — Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase & Co. — are combining efforts to improve health care for their U.S. employees.

The three companies announced Tuesday they are teaming up to explore “ways to address healthcare for their U.S. employees, with the aim of improving employee satisfaction and reducing costs,” according to a news release about the venture.

An independent company, which “is free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” they say, will initially tackle technological solutions to deliver “simplified, high-quality and transparent” health care to employees at a economical prices.

“Tackling the enormous challenges of healthcare and harnessing its full benefits are among the greatest issues facing society today,” said Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos in a statement. “By bringing together three of the world’s leading organizations into this new and innovative construct, the group hopes to draw on its combined capabilities and resources to take a fresh approach to these critical matters.”

Few specifics accompanied the announcement of the initiative, which is described as “in its early planning stages.”

But the as-yet-unnamed company will initially consist of Berkshire Hathaway investment officer Todd Combs, JPMorgan Chase managing director Marvelle Sullivan Berchtold, and Amazon senior vice president Beth Galetti. Other operational details including site for a headquarters and a long-term management team will be announced in the future, the companies said.

Growing health care costs “act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” said Berkshire Hathaway CEO and chairman Warren Buffett in a statement. “Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable. Rather, we share the belief that putting our collective resources behind the country’s best talent can, in time, check the rise in health costs while concurrently enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes.”

Collectively, the three companies have about 900,000 employees worldwide — Berkshire Hathaway has more than 360,00, JPMorgan Chase has more than 240,000, while Amazon has more than 300,000 and plans to add another 50,000 U.S. jobs at its planned second headquarters.

Each of the companies already has some interplay with the health care system. Amazon has been expected to make a move into health care, perhaps selling prescription drugs. Berkshire has among its companies, health care liability insurer MedPro Group.

And the JPMorgan Chase Institute studies health care costs, finding in an October 2017 report that health care spending is expected to grow faster than gross domestic product through 2025. U.S. spending on health care rose from 13% of GDP in 2000 to 18% in 2015.

Employees want an improved health care experience and what the companies learn could be expanded beyond their initial U.S. work forces, said JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon. “Our people want transparency, knowledge and control when it comes to managing their healthcare,” he said. “The three of our companies have extraordinary resources, and our goal is to create solutions that benefit our U.S. employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans.”

In pre-market trading, the three companies shares were relatively unchanged: Amazon (AMZN) shares were down slightly (0.02%) in to $1,414.26, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) shares were down 0.35% to $115.75, while Berkshire Hathaway shares (BRKB) were unchanged.

However, shares of health care companies tumbled in pre-market trading with CVS Health (CVS) down 7.48% to $77.32 and insurer UnitedHealth (UNH) down 6.6% to $231.

More: Half of America skimps to pay for health care. The only fix is to cut waste.

More: 20-plus health care stats that will blow you away

Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

 

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