New Mega-Venture Could Upend American Health Care

Whether it's Voltron, Captain Planet, or even Stephen Universe's Crystal Gems, we love cartoon heroes that emerge from the combination of our best selves. In our less magical reality, though, sometimes those creations bang up against antitrust laws. No matter what comes of it, when three of the world's biggest corporations team up to enter the health care market, we'd all better pay attention.

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase are all 800-pound gorillas in their respective industries; you've probably heard of their CEOs, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, and Jamie Dimon. Their joint announcement this week that they'd be joining forces to tackle health care sent shockwaves throughout the worlds of insurance, pharmaceuticals, and patient care, and their stock prices.

On its face, this seems like an overreaction. The three CEOs said the venture was only for their own employees, who total about 1 million in the U.S. Their joint statement focused on "the ballooning cost of health care," which Buffet called "a hungry tapeworm on the American economy." But none of them are known for narrow ambitions, and Bezos in particular has a history of wreaking havoc on established industries for the sake of disruption and profit.

We don't actually know much more about their plan, but speculation has been running pretty wild about what it might encompass — and how it might upend an already turbulent market. Bezos, Buffet, and Dimon's goal is to fight skyrocketing health care costs, probably "through an independent company that is free from profit-making incentives and constraints," according to their release. These costs are unarguably out of control; whether this new joint venture will shake things up or consume the entire health care industry is worth watching.