×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase Partner to Shake Up Health Care Industry

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have teamed to form a new company designed to bring innovations to the health care industry.

The three business giants unveiled the plan on Tuesday with few details other than to say the focus of the venture is on “improving employee satisfaction and reducing costs” for each company’s U.S. employees. By CNBC’s estimate, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase have more than 1.1 million domestic employees.

“The healthcare system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “Hard as it might be, reducing healthcare’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort. Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation.”

Amazon’s participation in the venture is yet another example of Bezos’ outsized ambition to leverage the enormous clout of the e-commerce giant well beyond the retail sector of the economy. Last year, Amazon expanded into the brick-and-mortar supermarket business with its purchase of Whole Foods. Amazon in the past few years has poured billions of dollars into building up its Amazon Prime streaming platform and Amazon Studios film and TV production unit. The company is in the midst of a search for a new leader for Amazon Studios, a recruiting process that has been closely watched in Hollywood.

The partners in the health care effort emphasized that the unnamed venture is still in the early planning stages. Berkshire Hathaway investment officer Todd Combs is spearheading the launch with Marvelle Sullivan Berchtold, a managing director of JPMorgan Chase, and Beth Galetti, a senior VP at Amazon.

The three CEOs made clear in announcing the plan that they view the U.S. health care system as deeply flawed in ways that are a danger to the national interest. The goal is to leverage the considerable resources of the three private companies into a drive for technology-driven innovations at a company that will be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” according to the news release.

“The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy. Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable,” said Berkshire Hathaway chairman-CEO Warren Buffett. “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.”

The effort comes at a time of turmoil in the health care biz as the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal Obama-era health care reforms have stalled but federal funding and other support for existing Obamacare programs are still in jeopardy. The venture is a clear signal that business leaders are fed up with the partisan gridlock on health care policy. Although the new company will focus on initiatives to benefit the employees of the partners, there’s no doubt the goal is to develop innovations that can have a wider application beyond the halls of the three companies.

“Our people want transparency, knowledge and control when it comes to managing their healthcare,” said Jamie Dimon, chairman-CEO of JPMorgan Chase. “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.”

(Pictured: Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett)

More Biz

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger'Terminator: Dark Fate' film panel,

    Arnold Schwarzenegger Trades CAA for UTA

    Arnold Schwarzenegger has departed his former agency CAA and signed with UTA, which will represent the global superstar and two-time Governor of California in all areas. Schwarzenegger, whose films have grossed more than $4.7 billion worldwide, is set to reprise his celebrated role in the “Terminator” franchise, starring in “Terminator: Dark Fate.” He will also [...]

  • Patrick Moran

    Former ABC Studios Head Patrick Moran Signs Amazon Overall Deal

    Patrick Moran has signed an overall deal with Amazon, Variety has learned. The news comes around three months after it was announced that Moran would be exiting his role as president of ABC Studios following restructuring in the wake of the Disney-21st Century Fox merger. Under his new deal, Moran will work with Amazon Studios to [...]

  • Pamela Adlon

    Pamela Adlon Signs With CAA (EXCLUSIVE)

    Multi-hyphenate Pamela Adlon has signed with CAA for representation, Variety has learned exclusively. Due to the ongoing dispute between the Writers Guild and the talent agencies, however, CAA will not be representing Adlon for writing. In addition to writing, Adlon is an actress, producer, and director. She continues to be repped by Cunningham Escott Slevin Doherty [...]

  • Obit Obituary Placeholder

    Talent Agent Joseph Eric Rice Dies at 61

    Joseph Eric Rice, a talent agent who headed JR Talent Group, died unexpectedly at his home in Laguna Beach, Calif. He was 61. Rice headed his own talent agency based in Studio City where he primary handled actors. Earlier in his career, he headed the theatrical department at Abrams Artists Agency. Rice was born in [...]

  • Terry Back chairman ACF

    Veteran U.K. Media Investor Terry Back Joins ACF as Chairman

    CANNES — Veteran U.K. film industry investor Terry Back has joined ACF investment bank as chairman. ACF, headed by CEO Thomas Dey, has been at the forefront of the M&A activity around independent TV and film production outfits, mostly in the unscripted TV arena. ACF is in the midst of expanding its activities in the [...]

  • Santos Dumont

    Mipcom: International TV Output Picture Changing for U.S. Majors

    The global import-export strategies of the U.S. majors are in flux as the world’s major content companies gather this week in Cannes for the annual Mipcom market and conference. Disney, WarnerMedia and the other handful of media conglomerates that control the vast majority of the U.S. market are in the midst of a radical transition [...]

  • Jane Fonda Arrested

    Jane Fonda Arrested in D.C. During Climate Change Protest

    Jane Fonda was arrested on Friday in Washington, D.C. during a climate change protest, Variety has confirmed. “Today, the United States Capitol Police arrested 16 individuals for unlawfully demonstrating on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol,” Capitol Police communications director Eva Malecki said in a statement to Variety. She added that all were charged with crowding, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content