×

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

  • MadeFor Productions

    Endemol Shine Sets Up German Scripted Label Ahead of Banijay Acquisition (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Black Mirror” and “Peaky Blinders” producer Endemol Shine Group has set up a new scripted label in Germany, Variety can reveal. Based in Berlin and led by joint CEOs Nanni Erben and Gunnar Juncken, MadeFor Film will focus on both high-end TV series and feature films for the domestic and international markets, as well as [...]

  • Deborah Dugan

    Recording Academy in Mediation with Ousted CEO Deborah Dugan

    The Recording Academy and its ousted president and CEO Deborah Dugan have officially entered mediation, just over a month after their dispute broke into the open, sources confirm to Variety. While a report in Billboard states that mediation began today, a source tells Variety that the two parties have been in communication for at least [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein deliberation

    Weinstein Jury Ends Day With Request for Annabella Sciorra's Testimony, No Verdict

    The jurors in the Harvey Weinstein trial ended their third day of deliberations on Thursday with a request to hear the testimony of Annabella Sciorra. The jury has now been deliberating for more than 14 hours, and will return for further deliberations on Friday morning. In a note to the judge late Thursday afternoon, the [...]

  • EFM Euro Film Policy Seminar

    Berlin: European Film Policy Seminar Examines Changing Landscape

    The Berlinale’s European Film Market opened on Thursday with the inaugural European Film Politics Seminar, offering a look at the pressing challenges facing independent European producers in a fast-changing landscape increasingly dominated by the growing number of U.S. streaming giants. The seminar was hosted by Steven Gaydos, executive vice president of global content of Variety. [...]

  • Gloria Allred clients suing Harvey Weinstein

    Are Harvey Weinstein's Accusers Planning to Sue? Gloria Allred Says 'This Is All Speculation'

    Gloria Allred is representing three of the six women who have testified in Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial. The high-profile attorney has been accused by Weinstein’s legal team of having plans to sue the former Hollywood honcho after his rape trial concludes. During closing arguments, Weinstein’s lead attorney Donna Rotunno said Allred sits in court every [...]

  • Friends TV Series

    'Friends' DVD, Digital Sales Soar as It Takes a Break From Streaming

    They’re on a streaming break — but “Friends” will still be there for you. WarnerMedia’s home entertainment division is aiming to capitalize on the brief disappearance of the hit sitcom from streaming video on demand, as fans look for other ways to get their “Friends” fix. Repeats of the wildly popular laffer, which ran for [...]

  • Berlin Film Festival

    Berlin Film Festival to Hold Minute of Silence for Victims in German Shooting

    The Berlin Film Festival has announced it will hold a minute of silence at its opening gala on Thursday for the victims of the shooting that took place in the German city of Hanau. “With great dismay and sorrow, the Berlinale learned of the fatal attack yesterday in Hanau,” the festival said in a statement. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content