business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times this morning reports that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase announced plan to “form an independent health care company to serve their employees in the United States.”

According to the story, the initial focus of the collaboration will be the use of “technology to provide simplified, high-quality health care for their employees and their families, and at a reasonable cost. They said the initiative, which is in the early planning stages, would be a long-term effort ‘free from profit-making incentives and constraints’.”

Other than that, details are sketchy, but the Times notes that “the partnership brings together three of the country’s most influential companies to help improve a health care system that other companies have tried and failed to change.”

In a prepared statement, Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos says, “The health care system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty. Hard as it might be, reducing health care’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.”
KC's View:
And, as Bezos also likes to say, it isn’t an experiment if you know how it is going to turn out.

The other interesting part of this is that Amazon long has been said to be interested in making its next big move into healthcare. Inevitably, there will be learnings from this collaboration that Amazon may be able to apply to its own efforts. Or, maybe there is a way to expand this collaboration beyond the boundaries of these three companies’ employees.

I know this. If I were in the traditional healthcare business, I’d be a little nervous right now. Because some big time disruption may be right around the corner.

Bezos also likes to say that “your margin is my opportunity.” When I put that comment within the context of the broader statement that the new collaboration will be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” well, I get chills.