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Even Corporate Titans Recognize the Harms of For-Profit Health Care

Jan. 30, 2018

Even Corporate Titans Recognize the Harms of For-Profit Health Care

Statements of Public Citizen Experts

Note: Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase have announced plans to create a new, independent company that would ensure their employees can access health care at a reasonable cost and would be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints.”

“Irony can be happily overlooked when titans of capitalism – including the CEO of JPMorgan Chase – want to wring out the outrageous profits in the health care system.”

– Bartlett Naylor, financial policy advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division

“While these companies rightly identify the need to free this country’s health care from perverse profit incentives, the best way to do that would be to pass single-payer Medicare-for-All and finally ensure that all Americans have access to the care they need. Warren Buffett himself has extolled the virtues of single-payer, stating that it would be the best system to bring down costs and improve the economic competitiveness of American companies.

“Even with the significant negotiating power that these three companies could bring to bear, the savings gained would be miniscule compared to the savings that would be gained by leveraging the full weight of the federal government to negotiate health care and medicine prices on behalf of the American people.”

– Eagan Kemp, health care policy advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division

“Analysts speculate that Amazon soon could enter the business of selling prescription medications. Additionally, media reports indicate that Amazon has a secret health care tech team called 1492 exploring commercial opportunities in health, including electronic medical records. Amazon’s ambitions may extend to collecting sensitive health data from Amazon customers. It is not clear that existing privacy rules – which are ambiguous when it comes to collecting, using and sharing digital data – would sufficiently protect against misuse of people’s private health information. Today’s announcement extends this concern to Amazon’s own employees, as well as those of Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase. Will these corporations protect the health care data of their employees from commercial use? Is there a risk that these corporations will exploit employees’ data and compromise their privacy to advance commercial health products and platforms?”

– Burcu Kilic, research director, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program