Amazon made an announcement Tuesday that sent shockwaves through the health care industry and caused insurers’ stocks to plummet: The technology company is joining Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to create an independent health care organization that will serve their employees.
While details are hard to come by right now, it’s already clear the move could have massive implications for how Americans access medical treatment down the road. Those in the industry have long speculated that Amazon would try to disrupt it. The company’s acquisition of Whole Foods only fueled the flames of theories that it would enter pharmaceuticals. In statements about the new health venture, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said their efforts could be used as a template for all Americans.
“The health care system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty,” Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos said. “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.”
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Futurists, who study and make predictions about technological and scientific innovations to come, are confident Amazon will play a significant role in health care. Having already transformed retail with its online marketplace, it could similarly revolutionize a very different business with the aim of keeping people healthy for cheaper.