A trio of business icons are forming a joint healthcare venture in an effort to reduce healthcare costs for their US-based employees.
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase said Tuesday that they plan to create an independent company "free from profit-making incentives and constraints" aimed at providing affordable, high-quality and transparent healthcare to their workers.
Details of the joint venture are slim, but the companies said the initial focus will be on building the backend technology that's needed to provide health coverage services to a large, disconnected workforce.
Berkshire Hathaway investment officer Todd Combs, JP Morgan managing director Marvelle Sullivan Berchtold, and Amazon SVP Beth Galetti are spearheading the project in the early planning stages. The longer-term management team, headquarters location and other operational details -- including the name of the company -- will be announced at a later time.
The three CEOs behind the project -- Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Berkshire's Warren Buffett and JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon -- all released statements condemning the current state of the US healthcare system and calling out the need for change.
Buffett offered up the most colorful language, referring to rising healthcare costs 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," Buffett said. "Rather, we share the belief that putting our collective resources behind the country's best talent can, in time, check the rise in health costs while concurrently enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes."
Bezos said the group is well aware of the challenges and difficulty the joint company will face, but noted that it is a long-term effort that will improve over time.
"The three of our companies have extraordinary resources, and our goal is to create solutions that benefit our US employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans," Dimon added.
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