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Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan Chase launch effort to lower U.S. healthcare costs

By Susan McFarland
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Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan Chase launch effort to lower U.S. healthcare costs
JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced Tuesday it will partner with retail giant Amazon and investment house Berkshire Hathaway to create a new healthcare venture aimed at lowering medical and care costs for U.S. employees. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 30 (UPI) -- To lower healthcare costs for U.S. employees, retailer Amazon and financial institutions Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan Chase said Tuesday they will partner in a joint healthcare venture.

A statement by the companies on Tuesday announced plans for the healthcare merger, which aims to improve employee satisfaction and reduce medical costs.

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"The ballooning costs of healthcare 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," said Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett. "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."

Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, said the three groups are entering into the venture "open-eyed" about how difficult the process might become.

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"The healthcare system is complex ... Hard as it might be, reducing healthcare's burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort," Bezos said. "Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner's mind, and a long-term orientation."

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JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said what's needed is "transparency, knowledge and control when it comes to managing their healthcare."

"The three of our companies have extraordinary resources, and our goal is to create solutions that benefit our U.S. employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans," he added.

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After the announcement Tuesday, industry market shares began to decline -- with CVS, Walgreens and Express Scripts each off by about 7 percent in early trading.

Healthcare markets also suffered with UnitedHealth dropping 7 percent and Aetna down by 3.5 percent.

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