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Amazon, JP Morgan, Berkshire Hathaway health care venture to disband

Amazon, JP Morgan, Berkshire Hathaway health care venture to disband
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A high-profile joint venture from three of the country’s biggest-name companies aimed at lowering health care costs is disbanding after three years, a sign of how complex and difficult to disrupt the U.S. health care system is. 

The company, called Haven, was a joint venture of Amazon, JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway and was announced with much fanfare at the beginning of 2018. 

But after three years without any major announcements or apparent breakthroughs in lowering health care costs and improving outcomes, the company said Monday it is disbanding. 

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“In the past three years, Haven explored a wide range of healthcare solutions, as well as piloted new ways to make primary care easier to access, insurance benefits simpler to understand and easier to use, and prescription drugs more affordable,” the company said in a statement posted on its website. 

“Moving forward, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. will leverage these insights and continue to collaborate informally to design programs tailored to address the specific needs of their own employee populations. Haven will end its independent operations at the end of February 2021,” the statement added. 

The venture had announced Atul Gawande, a doctor and leading writer and thinker on health care, as its CEO, but he departed in May 2020, a move that raised questions about the direction of the company at the time. 

The heads of the three companies involved had acknowledged how thorny the problems in the U.S. health care system are at the time they launched the venture. 

“The ballooning costs of health care act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” Warren Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said in a press release in January 2018. “Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable. 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.”