Two of the world’s richest men may launch the biggest, positive disruption to health care in several generations.
Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos are teaming with JP Morgan Bank to create a company to help US employees find quality care “at a reasonable cost” and tackle the “hungry tapeworm on the American economy”.
They’re operating in the for-profit American system, but have realized that soaring health care costs are a threat to both people and the economy.
Buffet brings a benign practicality to business. Bezos understands scale. Both understand efficiency and the need to produce results.
Their collaboration and new vision could shake up the comfortable, semi-incestuous clique of like-minded, like-educated, like-back-grounded people who manage health care. We might see a new type of results-oriented executive class introduced to health care management. And that might provide Canadian politicians with the fortitude to think outside the box when hiring executives. So instead of hiring another executive clone responding to a job description written with their particular curriculum vitae in mind, health ministers seek people with a real history of success or, failing that, demand our executives meet performance targets. Remember, in seven years Halifax hospitals have failed to meet the province’s standard for off-loading ambulance patients within 20 minutes. NS health executives have not managed to bring capital projects in on time or on budget. They have failed to recruit doctors in sufficient numbers to meet the Physician Resource Plan. They have failed to retain doctors. They have impeded doctors in taking over established practices or opening new ones. They have a history of higher-than-average administration costs, and, and, and …
Buffet and Bezos present a truly positive disruptive opportunity for western health care.