Amazon is stepping into healthcare

Jeff Bezos

Alexa, make healthcare better. 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is finally publicly stepping into the healthcare industry. Amazon has teamed up with banking giant JPMorgan and holding company Berkshire Hathaway to start a healthcare business, the companies announced on Tuesday. 

Per typical tech company fashion, the initiative’s goal is to disrupt an old industry by providing technological solutions and, in turn, simplify and decrease the expenses of the process for consumers. The new initiative does not have a name or CEO yet, and is being headed by three executives from each participating company. 

“The healthcare system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty,” Bezos said in a statement. “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.”

Details on how exactly the new healthcare business would work to change the industry were sparse, but the billionaires behind the project have now publicly dedicated themselves to taking on the challenge. 

“We enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty.”

“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,” Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett said in a statement. 

“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,” Buffett continued. 

Healthcare isn’t a cheap business, but these partnering companies are some of the richest in the world. The companies have a combined market valuation of $1.6 trillion, Bloomberg reported

For now, they’re focused on launching an independent business that is “free from profit-making incentives and constraints.” When it eventually launches, it will service the more than 1.1 million employees at the three participating companies. 

But if the venture succeeds, it could service more Americans, competing with healthcare companies like Cigna, Aetna, and UnitedHealth. 

As JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement, “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.”

The joint venture is the type of shakeup that excites some in healthcare as an impetus to force the industry to change. Toward the end of last year, the healthcare industry faced another big shakeup when healthcare insurance company Aetna and pharmacy CVS announced a merger. 

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