When news broke Tuesday morning that Amazon (AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase are forming an independent health care company for their employees, headlines hailed the idea as a way to “disrupt” health care.
“It could be big,” Ed Kaplan, who negotiates health coverage on behalf of large employers as the national health practice leader for the Segal Group, told the New York Times. “Those are three big players, and I think if they get into health care insurance or the health care coverage space they are going to make a big impact.”
But many health care experts were far more skeptical — noting both the near-total absence of details in the announcement and the fact that the history of the health care industry is littered with examples of players who have pledged to disrupt the field but ultimately failed.
I hate to say this because I want there to be something to bring healthcare costs down but the Amazon/Berkshire/JPM deal sounds to me like corporate pr bs.
— Maxim Jacobs, CFA (@MaxJacobsEdison) January 30, 2018
Also find it strange to see three firms/individuals that have critically depended on the profit motive to create value in their industries now seeming to believe they will motivate the various necessary actors by ignoring profit incentives (3/3)
— Craig Garthwaite (@C_Garthwaite) January 30, 2018
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Team Up to Disrupt Health Care https://t.co/diBKzZJ7RJ #Publiclyfunded Removing #healthyemployees 18-65 from plans that share the risk of those LEAST uninsurable such as disabled and elderly, will ensure more inequity in the US system
— Josephine McMurray (@AgeWell_DRIVE) January 30, 2018
I do hope Amazon, JP Morgan, & Berkshire succeed. Health care is wildly inefficient However, it’s a bit like Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and Partners Health coming out and saying they don’t like their computers so they’re going to form a new IT company https://t.co/wQ0s2BWz2u
— Zack Cooper (@zackcooperYale) January 30, 2018
Some skepticism from Piper Jaffray on the Buffett-Dimon-Bezos health care thing pic.twitter.com/aPYidDFyGU
— Zachary Tracer (@ZTracer) January 30, 2018
Who knows what this Amazon-JPM-Berkshire health care thing really is. But, if it’s the start of getting big and influential employers engaged in health care costs, it could mean something. We won’t make progress on cost control without employers. https://t.co/jacbMLf8Wt
— Larry Levitt (@larry_levitt) January 30, 2018
Even without details, shares of companies across the health care industry fell sharply.
Amazon, Bershire, JPM still in early stages and offer no details on the launch of their #heatlhcare initiative – they don't even have an office – but news is pressuring #healthcare services. pic.twitter.com/okckQI6HAN
— Bertha Coombs (@berthacoombs) January 30, 2018
I don’t think amazon/JPM/Berkshire had any idea of the veracity and strength of health care twitter.
— Emma Sandoe (@emma_sandoe) January 30, 2018
the real health care disruption is the friends we made along the way etc
— Adrianna McIntyre (@onceuponA) January 30, 2018
And this being health care Twitter, there was also health care humor.
Plot twist: Amazon #HQ2 is actually a hospital
— Nico Lewine (@Nico_Lewine) January 30, 2018