Business giants Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan-Chase announced today that the three companies are going to collaborate on a project to disrupt healthcare.
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett commented “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.” I love this: Someone with the courage to label healthcare the awful, parasitic system it has become.
I was really hoping that something like this would come along. Modern American healthcare is so incredibly fouled up, so deeply caught up in its relentlessly profiteering behavior, and providing such lousy service that I was hoping that a well-funded organization, fed up with the outrageous misbehavior and arrogance, would introduce a disruptive element. While I and my team have been working away at our own little solutions through Undoctored programs, the combined resources of these three enormous companies will accelerate change dramatically. I’m hoping that the shakeup that Amazon inflicted on Whole Foods Market will be magnified a thousand-fold in disrupting modern American healthcare.
Not unexpectedly, news of this collaboration prompted sharp drops in the stock prices of established healthcare companies, especially since Jamie Dimon, the JPMorgan CEO commented that the project would be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints.” In other words, they are seeking to slash costs, including pulling back on the absurd profit-seeking behavior of healthcare insiders. I am therefore hoping that the absurd excesses of the status quo, such as $2-million-per-year ophthalmologists getting rich off useless injections for macular degeneration, the extortion pricing of new drugs rather than pricing based on R&D recovery and reasonable profit, $10 million-per-year “non-profit” hospital CEO salaries, and countless others will no longer be tolerated.
And imagine: a healthcare system that might actually try and provide health, not just churn the public for revenues?
The New York Times shared this graph of health insurance premiums graphed against employee earnings and inflation:
(The New York Times is one of the few media outlets that actually will report news unfavorable to Big Pharma, unlike network and cable TV that enjoy the billions of dollars from direct-to-consumer drug ads and therefore will not say anything negative about their advertisers. Yes, even most of the media has been bought by Big Pharma. So I am grateful that the New York Times has the guts and sense of right and wrong to post such reports.)
Modern healthcare, now consuming a record 18% of gross domestic product (GDP) is an unsustainable bubble. And it is ready to be disrupted. No doubt: heads will fly, people will lose jobs, doctors and hospital executives will have their incomes impacted, Big Pharma and the medical device industries may need to come back down to earth in pricing their products but—most important of all—I believe that more people will begin to ask tougher questions and no longer accept the ridiculous services that now pass for “healthcare.” Maybe your doctor will actually need to understand nutrition and manage nutritional deficiencies, maybe dietitians will actually get a real dietary education based on science and not marketing, maybe drugs will only be used when all natural means have failed, and maybe all the money going into the pockets of healthcare insiders will be diverted back into truly productive activities such as your pocket, your kids’ education, etc. and not to the likes of Merck, Pfizer, Medtronic, Sanofi Aventis, and other big predatory players in healthcare.