For months, we’ve been hearing about Amazon maybe going into the health insurance business. It has finally happened. Sort of. The company has connected with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and with JPMorgan Chase and they’re putting a health care entity together to service their employees and provide them with quality health care.
And the goal is to do so at a “reasonable cost.”
None of the firm’s leaders — Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Warren Buffett of Berkshire nor Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan — offered details. In a statement Buffett said the new company is in the beginning stages. “The ballooning costs of (health care) 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,” he said.
What we do know is the new company will be independent of the three companies and will be — says the statement — independent and “free from profit-making incentives and constraints.”
The big question today is will the new company expand beyond Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan? The statement forming the company did not say but at the announcement Dimon said “our goal is to create solutions that benefit our U.S. employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans.”
So, expansion may be inevitable.
The announcement of the new company on Tuesday morning caused shares in health care companies to take a big hit in early trading. At issue for those companies is the new company’s new take on how health care is delivered to employees.
Health care, health insurance and skyrocketing rates is one of the most controversial issues facing the U.S. today and has been a focus since President Obama and a Democrat-controlled Congress started work on the Affordable Care Act in 2008.
The Kaiser Foundation says even since ObamaCare was passed — and still — just half of U.S. companies with three to 49 employees offer coverage. That’s down from 66% a decade ago. Part of that reason may be the Affordable Care Act only requiring those with 50 or more employees to purchase insurance for their employees.
The radical change with this new company is the three firms contending they can use their scale and size and “complimentary expertise” to this project.
Source link: OregonLive.com