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Three Musketeers of Healthcare: Buffett, Bezos and Dimon

Posted by Thomas Edwards on February 4, 2018 12:05 PM EST
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or, as writer David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times New Service says in his recent article's headline, "Universal Coverage, courtesy of the corporate world?...

...maybe the most successful of very large enterprises can lead the way and show government and the healthcare and health insurance industries and thing or two on how innovation can produce better results.

I like to read Joe's blogs from time to time because they often follow a consistent theme-often he cites a newspaper or magazine article to make some big points.  So, for my blog today, I am citing (and highlighting in BOLD) key excepts from an excellent article that was written by writer David Lazarus for the Tribune News Service that appeared in Joe's favorite newspaper today (Sunday, February 4, 2018)-The Virginian-Pilot.

As a benefits consultant I can attest to the accuracy of the first excerpt from the article that I highlight below.  This excerpt is at the very crux of why the "Three Musketeers"  (Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon) and their companies are moving so aggressively to design, construct and implement a private sector corporate solution that may look like universal healthcare coverage for their employees:

"Rising health care costs hve forced all employers to re-examine their insurance plans and to rething how to look after the welfare of workers".

The fact that these three men lead large companies and have a track record of success in doing so, can add impact to their recently-announced merger.  

"In unveiling their partnership, the three companies, which collectively employ about 1 million people domestically, said they would use their combined workforce as a laboratory for health care innovation".

Focus on the root cause of the problem and a structure that in and of itself frees the venture to try bold new things, can be early elements that propel longer term success and results.

"The key language in the announcement is that Amazon, Berkshire and JPMorgan will create an independent company this is free from profit-making incentives and contraints."  The initial focus of the new company will be on technology solutions that will provide .S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent health care at a reasonable cost, the companies said".

The writer believes that taking profit making off the table is a big step towards focusing on breakthrough solutions.  He quotes a leading researcher in the field as testimony to this belief:

Everyone talks about tipping points, Dana Goldman, director of USC's Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, told me.  This could be on of those moments.  He said rising health care costs have forced change.  "I think these companies understand that by makikng workders helathier, they're making them happier and more productive", Goldman said.  "It's a way of  making a long-term investment in future gains".

Writer Lazarus goes on to reinforce the practical and symbolic advantage this three some and their companies can bring to the problem, which has effectively gotten much worse in the last few years.

"With Bezos, Buffett and JPMorgan CEO Jmaie Dimon spearheading this new effort, political considerations, and those of entrenched health care interests, get thrown out the window.

Finally, he builds on an ascertion he made earlier in the article that it was business during the federal governments pay raise freeze of World War 2 that lead to the modern era of medical benefits.  His statement below seems almost prophetic in that context:

That's why I'm hopeful the Three Musketeers of Bezos, Buffett and Dimon can be similarly influential.  Perhaps they could even lead the way toward a Medicare-for-all system, with the federal goveernment adopting the business worlkds advance to make U.S. health care more patient-focused and more effective"

And to do so at costs every worker can afford.  That's a dream worth savoring.

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