Another day, another momentous Amazon headline. It was reported yesterday that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase have combined to form an unlikely team of healthcare superheroes. According to the New York Times, over 150 million Americans receive health insurance from their employer, and American businesses have tried for years to “tackle the high costs and complexity of health care”. The article cited Walmart and Caterpillar as two companies that have attempted to take on the issue in the past, without much success.
What all Americans and American businesses have consistently agreed on with respect to this story is that healthcare is a problem. Costs are too high, coverage gaps are too many, congress is too stalemated…the list goes on. So, what makes this new super-team—headlined by some of the most recognizable names in the universe in Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Jamie Dimon—any more likely to solve this problem than the other industry titans who have tried in the past? One word…the “A” Word.
Amazon has proven time and time again that, above all else, they are in the problem-solving business. They have earned their title as one of the most innovative companies in the US by diagnosing problems common among consumers, and moving swiftly to find solutions.
Back in the early days of eCommerce, when packages could take weeks to arrive after placing your order, you may have overheard family, friends, or even strangers claim how great it would be if their online orders were delivered faster. Amazon was listening, and for the past decade has been at the forefront of every improvement to delivery times. Today, as I’m sure you are well-aware, delivery times have been cut down to less than an hour for certain products, and no more than two days for millions of others.
How about consumers who aspired to eat healthier, more natural foods, but could not afford to shop at a Whole Foods, or did not have a high-end grocery store in their hometown? Who was going to solve that problem? You guessed it: Amazon. Yet again they made the aggressive decision to buy Whole Foods, unlocking their ability to bring better quality products to millions who wanted it, but couldn’t have it. Almost immediately upon acquiring Whole Foods did Amazon begin slashing prices on the 365 brand and thousands of other products sold at Whole Foods stores. They also began listing hundreds of 365 products on Amazon.com, making them more accessible to communities across the US. The scary part in all this (at least for those who consider Amazon their top competitor)—it took only weeks from the time the acquisition was finalized to seeing prices on 365 products drop in stores and online. Amazon solves problems, and solves them fast.
There are thousands of other examples of Amazon solving problems for consumers, and the news of their alliance with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase makes it seem as though the healthcare problem is the next ten-point buck in their crosshairs.