Can Corporate America Save the Health Care System?

by Paul L. Croce

After months of unsuccessful attempts by Congress to pass a bill overhauling America’s healthcare system, several private parties are stepping forward in an attempt to solve the issue on their own.

In late January, Amazon.com Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and JP Morgan Chase & Co. announced plans to join forces by forming a new company to change how healthcare is provided in the United States. While the parties provided little detail about their plan, the announcement nevertheless provided some insight.

In the announcement, the three corporate powerhouses indicated that the new independent company would be one “that is free from profit making incentives and constraints.” They further indicated that the company would initially focus on the healthcare provided to the individual companies’ combined nearly one million employees and would focus on moving healthcare forward through technology.

This newly announced partnership will not be the only set of corporate players attempting to overhaul the healthcare system. Following the announcement by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan, CVS Health Chief Executive Officer, Larry Merlo, indicated that he believed the proposed new venture is more aspirational than what CVS will be able to accomplish after the completion of its merger with Aetna.  Merlo indicated that the combined CVS Aetna entity will have the infrastructure, assets and healthcare expertise to execute on the goals and objectives sought by the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JP Morgan venture.

Mr. Merlo further indicated that he was willing to partner with others in attempting to find ways to improve the healthcare system, indicating that he wants the new CVS Aetna combination to be an “open source model”, and that he is looking forward to partnering with all groups, including the new Amazon, Berkshire and JP Morgan venture, to help reinvent the healthcare system.

While no specific plans have been announced on how these parties intend to reach their goals, the ingenuity that has been displayed by these corporate giants in their individual industries, suggests they will take a truly innovative and aggressive approach to address what they believe are problems with the current healthcare system. These attempts will surely be closely watched by not only the healthcare industry, but America as a whole.