Amazon wades into health care, with JPMorgan and Berkshire


Associated Press

Amazon is diving into health care, teaming up with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and the New York bank JPMorgan Chase, to create a company that helps their U.S. employees find quality care "at a reasonable cost."

The leaders of each company, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Buffett, and JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon, offered few details Tuesday and said that the project is in the early planning stage.

"The ballooning costs of [health care] act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy," Buffett said in a prepared statement. "Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable."

The new company will be independent and "free from profit-making incentives and constraints." The businesses said the new venture's initial focus would be on technology that provides "simplified, high-quality and transparent" care.

It was not clear if the ultimate goal involves expanding the ambitious project beyond Amazon, Berkshire or JPMorgan. However, JPMorgan's Dimon said Tuesday that, "our goal is to create solutions that benefit our U.S. employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans."

Shares in health care companies took a big hit in early trading today, hinting at the threat of the new entity to how health care is paid for and delivered in the U.S.

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