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Nation & World

Amazon, Buffett and JPMorgan join forces on health care

This combination of photos from left shows Warren Buffett on Sept. 19, 2017, in New York, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, on Sept. 24, 2013, in Seattle and JP Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon on July 12, 2013, in New York. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and the New York bank JPMorgan Chase are teaming up to create a health care company announced Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, that is "free from profit-making incentives and constraints." (AP Photos)
This combination of photos from left shows Warren Buffett on Sept. 19, 2017, in New York, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, on Sept. 24, 2013, in Seattle and JP Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon on July 12, 2013, in New York. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and the New York bank JPMorgan Chase are teaming up to create a health care company announced Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, that is "free from profit-making incentives and constraints." (AP Photos)

Three of corporate America’s heaviest hitters – Amazon, Warren Buffett and JPMorgan Chase – sent a shudder through the health industry Tuesday when they announced plans to jointly create a company to provide their employees with high-quality, affordable care.

The announcement was short on details about precisely what the independent company will do. But given the three players’ outsize influence – and Amazon’s ability to transform just about everything it touches – the alliance has the potential to shake up how Americans shop for health care, and the stocks of insurance companies, drug distributors and others slumped in reaction.

“One of the messages they are sending is they’ve given up on traditional ways in which employers have tried to reduce costs or manage costs better,” said Paul Fronstin, an economist with the nonprofit Employee Benefits Research Institute.

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