Also, holy shit this is a brain disease: "Congress enacted a law that bans Medicare from negotiating drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry. However, since Amazon Health would act as a private corporation dealing with other private corporations, it is hard to imagine Congress could prevent it from getting favorable prices for its patients."
Great. Instead of fixing public policy for the benefit of the public, create a monstrous new private entity that sucks blood money from the public.
The will of the people is clear: illness ought to be ruinously expensive, health insurance ought to be a privilege for those who can afford it. The democratic process has considered the issue quite seriously, several times in recent years, and decided on the present situation. There is overwhelming bipartisan support for keeping healthcare pretty much as is, with very slight variations between red and blue.
Barring a major change in public opinion, any improvement in healthcare will have to be undemocratic.
I thought quite a lot of research showed that voters across the board are actually in favor of more Europe-style/better health care policies, but that they vote against their own interests because of partisan issues/politics.
If that's true, you might still be right in practice of course, but at the very least there's a bit more hope that things can change.
This isn't like some temporary blemish on democracy, it is democracy. People have different opinions (partisanship) about what ought to happen in the public sphere (politics) and outcomes are dictated by the people's actual votes rather than expert opinion about their best interests.
I'd be down for a technocrat philosopher-king, but that's not the world we live in. In fact, technocrats are being soundly rejected by both left and right.
It is pretty successful at driving down costs.
Unsurprisingly, it was targeted in the thankfully now failed TPPA, because god forbid a government flex its muscle and keep the market competitive.
Kinda like what IBM is trying to do with Watson.
I don’t know the right answer but starting with a good system that works seems like a good idea.
> Controllable income, which takes into account operational expenses including compensation and benefits, excludes the $5.8 billion payment mandated by the government to prefund the agency's retirement benefits.
> Excluding the obligation, the Postal Service would have recorded net income of about $200 million in 2016.
I don't expect government entities to make a profit; as long as they're run reasonably well (and they usually are), well, that's what taxes are for.
Even then, Amazon is completely dwarfed compared to all the players in the sector; pharma, hospital systems, chain pharmacies, indie pharmacies, long term care facilities, drug distributors, health insurance, TPAs, PSAOs, medical instrument makers, DME makers, all with their own agendas.
Regarding the pharmacy missing drug interaction problem cited in the article. It isn't due to lack of sophisticated system or lack of data. Far from it. Healthcare entities sit on colossal amount of data. The issue is fragmentation and lack of centralized mechanism that prevents effective communication and sharing of data. That's a regulatory and policy problems, not innovation problem.
Believe me, I want this problem fixed too, but Amazon isn't going to be the one to solve it.
> No wonder we pay more for health care and get poorer outcomes than any other industrialized nation.
Ok, we figured out that healthcare works better in other countries. So what could we do? Maybe look how other countries are doing it and try to do something alike? But that would be too easy, right? So better ask some billionaire to fix it for us.
This is why health care is hard to change. 1/5th of the economy is in the current system. Systems that big are going to be hard and slow to change - some inertia, some corruption. The revenue of "McKesson Corporation" (one of the highest in healthcare) is single-handedly(!) 1% of US GDP. Imagine how much power those guys have. They must have shaped the entire country (laws, regulations, public opinion) to an extent with that big a share.
If America 'fixes' it's healthcare with an billionare's 'disruption' power play the pressure on the rest of the world with functioning social healthcare systems to dismantle them will reach a sickening crescendo.
We're already in many ways pulling it apart, even with the less than stellar lesson of the USA to learn from...
(Australia, for reference.)
My mother was recommended to visit the hospital by an optician for a more in-depth check related to glaucoma. She ended up having to wait 9 months for her appointment...
I don’t think the general public want to see it privatised though, it’s just the governments are pushing it through as their agenda to avoid having to raise taxes (corporate and income tax in the UK is on the low side compared to other Western-European countries).
> Is anyone in the western world that's not leaning conservative looking to dismantle their healthcare system?
It's important to be honest about this: the conservative party have made the decision to de-fund the NHS and in real terms they've considerably cut funding for the NHS. This is even more true when you look at the changes to the NHS and the collapse in social care.
the changes were splitting out public health (eg, sexual health, drug and alcohol rehab, suicide prevention) to local authorities. Collapse in social care was caused by defunding LAs.
That aside, the push for the privatisation of the NHS has been going on for a long time. For example "Britain's Biggest Enterprise: Ideas for Radical Reform of the NHS" was a policy essay written by Oliver Letwin and John Redwood in 1988. You can read it here: https://www.cps.org.uk/files/reports/original/111027171245-B... . It sets out a group of suggestions for moving the responsibility of the NHS away from the government and towards the private sector. It's quite interesting reading it now (it's only 20 pages), as despite key problems with each approach being identified back in 1988, we've ended up with similar policies being pushed forward in 2012. I think this boils down to the blindness of ideology, if you're determined to break up public healthcare institutions, it doesn't matter if your reforms lead to a more effective healthcare system or not.
As an example of this, PFI has been used heavily since New Labour came to power in 1997 (and by the Conservatives that followed them) to fund the building of new hospitals and schools. To explain, PFI is effectively funding public building works by private, for-profit loan companies. Before PFI, these building works were funded by government at low interest rates. To give some idea of the burden of PFI on the NHS, it's been estimated to drain £2 billion a year from NHS funds. If you want to reduce NHS waiting times, I'd suggest pushing for scrapping PFI would be a good start.
But this is an ideological problem, nobody wants to pay up. Things like income equality and social justice aren't things most Americans care about. I don't mean that as criticism. The US is just different.
Really all communication should be open letters, so much more would be taken seriously, and so much more stuff done.
The health system continues to be in a bad state if Bezos will try to do the same thing cheaper. If Bezos is smart he will have a chat with Dr Mark Hyman on how to introduce functional medicine to the whole country. It is cheaper and ... it works!