JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon says healthcare venture will focus on cost, incentive structure

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon offered a peek at his company's healthcare venture with Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway. (LewisTsePuiLung/Getty)

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon offered a broader glimpse into what his company’s new healthcare venture with Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway will look like, and for many, it was a bit underwhelming.

Dimon outlined some of the goals for the new partnership and his outlook on fixing the country’s healthcare system in his annual letter (PDF) to shareholders issued on Thursday. Among the core issues the CEO laid out: poor outcomes, high administrative and fraud cost and a high percentage of healthcare spending devoted to chronic care.

“While we don’t know the exact fix to this problem, we do know the process that will help us fix it,” he wrote. “We need to form a bipartisan group of experts whose direct charge is to fix our healthcare system. I am convinced that this can be done, and if done properly, it will actually improve the outcomes and satisfaction of all American citizens.”


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That particular suggestion took some heat on social media, where several people mocked Dimon for his tone-deaf proposal. Bipartisan agreement on how to fix the country’s healthcare system has remained out of reach for years, with the Affordable Care Act facing constant opposition from Republicans who have also failed come up with a viable solution to rising healthcare costs.

Health policy experts on both sides of the aisle have worked for decades to get to the root of the issues outlined in Dimon's letter.

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Dimon also laid out six focus areas for the joint venture with Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway, including aligning incentives, cutting costs, leveraging health data and telemedicine to drive a consumer-oriented approach, developing wellness programs that focus on chronic diseases and studying the costs associated with specialty care, drugs and end-of-life care.

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Whether the three massive companies have the power to influence those persistent issues remains to be seen, although Dimon said the trio plans to leverage “top management, big data, virtual technology, better customer engagement and the improved creation of customer choice.” But he also tempered expectations, adding that the companies “intend to start small” and notable progress could take “years.”

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet has made similar comments, telling CNBC that he’s “hopeful” about the new venture “but don’t expect any miracles out of us soon.” In an announcement of the joint venture in January that made huge waves across the industry, Buffett referred to healthcare costs as “a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.

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