by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Whether this new company succeeds is hardly a given.
Amazon, of course, has a stellar track record in providing goods and services at lower costs, and is seen as a disrupter in this field. Bloomberg also speculates that the new company could use its heft — the combined companies employ more than 1 million workers — to put pressure on health care middlemen.
But other than bromides about enlisting technology to provide “transparent health care at a reasonable cost,” there are no details whatsoever about how exactly this new entity will work.
And Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett has some decidedly wrongheaded ideas about health care. …
… Meanwhile, the team seems to have bought into the faulty notion that profits are somehow at odds with providing lower costs and better quality, bragging that the new company will be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints.”
That’s a curious notion coming from the likes of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who knows from firsthand experience that it is precisely those “constraints” that kept him laser focused on customer service, improved efficiency and lower prices. …
… The reason this announcement is disruptive isn’t because it will dramatically alter the health care landscape any time soon, but because it shows how health care reform should work in this country.
You don’t need government calling the shots to bring meaningful reforms, and you certainly don’t need the government taking over health care the way Warren Buffett says he’d prefer.
What you need are private companies experimenting with solutions, competing for consumer dollars, and reaping the rewards when they succeed, or paying the price if they fail.