Atul Gawande Will Lead a Billionaire-Backed Health Care Company in Boston

Nora Nguyen
June 21, 2018

Eminent Indian-American surgeon, writer and public health innovator Atul Gawande has been named as the CEO of a new U.S. employee health care company, a joint venture between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, the three American majors announced today.

The three corporate titans said Wednesday that Gawande will lead an independent company that focuses on a mission they announced earlier this year: figure out ways to provide high-quality, affordable care.

Dimon, Bezos and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet said in January that their new company would be "free from profit-making incentives and constraints".

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Gawande, in addition to practicing general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, is a staff writer for The New Yorker. Many patients, especially the sickest, struggle with that. "I have devoted my public health career to building scalable solutions for better health care delivery that are saving lives, reducing suffering, and eliminating wasteful spending both in the USA and across the world".

At the time, the article also attracted the attention of Buffett and his business partner Charlie Munger. Employers have reacted in part to rising expenses by raising deductibles and other costs, asking their workers to pay more of the bill and to shop around for better deals.

Gawande, through a spokesman, declined a request for an interview, saying "he is taking time to listen and learn before discussing any future direction". "And, you know, if you had some really smart people running it that knew a lot about medicine, they're going to-they could do a lot about it", Buffett said in the appearance.

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The three execs from Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase say they know they're in for a tough challenge, but Gawande has their confidence. Munger was so impressed that he sent $20,000 to Gawande, who promptly donated the money to charity.

Meanwhile, healthcare companies are embarking on a wave of unconventional deals to broaden the services they offer. He added that he hopes "we could find a way where perhaps better care could be delivered even at somewhat lesser cost".

The venture will be geared toward employees of the three companies, rather than healthcare consumers overall in the USA, though Dimon said that potentially, all Americans could benefit.

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