Well, “shake it up baby, now” comes to mind when I think of Tuesday’s announcement that Amazon, banking giant JP Morgan and holding company Berkshire Hathaway publicly announced they will be taking on the healthcare industry. CEOs of the three companies say they’re aware of the enormous challenges they face.
In a statement, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, said, “The healthcare system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty. 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.”
Although details on exactly how the new healthcare business would work have not been revealed, the partners plan to form an independent healthcare company for their employees in the United States. The initiative’s goal is to provide new technological solutions to simplify and decrease expenses for consumers.
Across news outlets the one sound bite repeated from the announcement has been from Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet. He said, “The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.” I think those are fighting words!
This alliance is a clear sign of just how frustrated businesses are with the state of the nation’s healthcare system and escalating costs of medical treatment. If it is any indication of what’s to come, shares of healthcare companies like UnitedHealth Group and Anthem took a nosedive on Tuesday, dragging down the broader stock market.
We’ll all have to wait and see, but at least the conversation is underway to move toward reducing healthcare costs for individuals, the government and the economy. Here’s to hoping they can “come on and work it on out.”