Dr. Atul Gawande to lead Amazon, JPMorgan, Berkshire healthcare venture

Leslie Hanson
June 20, 2018

After months of speculation, Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway announced the CEO of their new health venture Wednesday. He is also well known for his books and writing in the New Yorker about the USA health-care system. The companies said this new company will operate as an independent entity and will be free from profit-making incentives and constraints.

"I have devoted my public health career to building scalable solutions for better healthcare delivery that are saving lives, reducing suffering, and eliminating wasteful spending both in the USA and across the world", Gawande said in a statement put out by the companies. Many patients, especially the sickest, struggle with that.

The three execs from Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase say they know they're in for a tough challenge, but Gawande has their confidence. Gawande will be tasked with working across three companies with a combined 1.2 million employees, where he will spearhead the development of innovative solutions for the multi-trillion-dollar health care industry in efforts to simplify the system and lower costs.

At the time, the article also attracted the attention of Buffett and his business partner Charlie Munger.

Munger thought the article was so socially useful that he blindly mailed Gawande a $20,000 check, Buffett told CNBC at the time.

"Jamie, Jeff and I are confident that we have found in Atul the leader who will get this important job done", Buffett said in a statement. Other businesses that provide employee health coverage are eager to find solutions for health care costs that often rise faster than inflation and squeeze their budgets in the process.

The Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan venture could put pressure on those middlemen.

Healthcare spending is taking up an increasing proportion of the U.S. economy, and a goal of the venture is to "at least" halt that, Buffett said on CNBC in February. Employers have reacted in part to rising expenses by raising deductibles and other costs, asking their workers to pay more of the bill and to shop around for better deals.

The three companies are self-insured employers, which means that when you're an employee going to a doctor's appointment, your employer is ultimately footing the bill for the MRI you receive, rather than a health insurer.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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