Amazon, Buffett, JPMorgan Chase pick Gawande to lead health firm

Dr. Atul Gawande

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe Dr. Atul Gawande

This work will take time but must be done.

The three companies said in late January that their new venture will focus on technology that provides simplified, high-quality and transparent care, and it would be free from profit-making incentives.

The health care brainchild of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett officially has a chief executive. Gawande, who now practices general and endocrine surgery at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and is a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, will assume the position on July 9. Many details of the new venture-its name, size, budget and authority-weren't immediately available. "Atul embodies all three, and we're starting strong as we move forward in this challenging and worthwhile endeavor".

Employer-sponsored insurance covers about 157 million people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. He added that he hopes "we could find a way where perhaps better care could be delivered even at somewhat lesser cost". He is also well known for his books and writing in the New Yorker about the USA health-care system. The piece focused on McAllen, Texas, and why the Medicare program spent $15,000 a year on the town's older patients, thousands of dollars more than in other areas.

That could change if they go through a well-known platform like Amazon, which could then reach into its vast trove of customer data to personalize the shopping, Marcotte said.

Berkshire, Amazon and JP Morgan Chase announced in January that they would form a healthcare company aimed at cutting costs for their United States employees.

"Jamie, Jeff and I are confident that we have found in Atul the leader who will get this important job done", Buffett said in a statement. He said in a statement Wednesday that he has devoted his career in public health to building solutions for better care delivery, and that while the current system is broken, "better is possible".

The three companies are self-insured employers, which means that when you're an employee going to a doctor's appointment, your employer is ultimately footing the bill for the MRI you receive, rather than a health insurer.

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