Jan 30, 2018

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan form health care mega-company

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Photo: Leah Puttkammer / Getty Images

Three of the wealthiest and most powerful companies in the U.S. — Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase — are starting a new health care company. Details are thin, but the new entity will be “free from profit-making incentives” and focus on employer-based health benefits, the companies said in a statement.

Why it matters: The health care industry was already beside itself over the prospect that Amazon, on its own, might enter the pharmacy business. Amazon along with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan can bring to bear resources that few existing companies have the power to match.

Key quote: “The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy. Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable,” Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett said in the statement.

The details: There aren’t many, but the announcement says this new entity focuses on “technology solutions that will provide U.S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost,” beginning with the companies’ own workers.

Go deeper

The long journey to herd immunity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The sought-after state of herd immunity — in which widespread outbreaks are prevented because enough people in a community are immune to a disease — is complicated by open questions about the effectiveness of a future vaccine and how COVID-19 spreads.

Why it matters: Unless a sufficient level of immunity is achieved in the population, the coronavirus could circulate indefinitely and potentially flare up as future outbreaks.

Judge rules all three defendants in shooting of Ahmaud Arbery will stand trial

Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A judge ruled on Thursday that all three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot and killed in February Glynn County, Georgia, will stand trial, AP reports.

Why it matters: The video of Arbery's death was among several catalysts in the mass protests against racial injustice that have unfurled across the country and world over the past week and a half.

Remembering George Floyd

Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

With politicians, clergy and law enforcement in attendance on Thursday in Minneapolis, the family of George Floyd demanded recognition for his life well lived.

Why it matters: Floyd has become the latest symbol of police brutality after he was killed last week when a police officer held a knee to his neck.