Warren Buffett, Jamie Dimon and Jeff Bezos have found the person they think can fix a broken US healthcare system. And they’re going with a Renaissance man.
Atul Gawande is taking the reins on July 9 with a mission to create a new entity unbound by profit goals. And he’s one of the best-known figures in the industry.
The company — which still doesn’t have a name — will be based in Boston.
Gawande is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School plus a bestselling author who has penned 4 books. He also writes for The New Yorker from time to time.
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.
“We said at the outset that the degree of difficulty is high and success is going to require an expert’s knowledge, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation,” said Bezos. “Atul embodies all three, and we’re starting strong as we move forward in this challenging and worthwhile endeavor.”
The three business headliners have attracted plenty of attention with their alliance on taming healthcare costs, and also a lot of skepticism about what they plan to do as well as what they can accomplish. That skepticism was heightened by a Wall Street Journal piece outlining Dimon’s rapid assurances to his big healthcare clients that he wasn’t setting up a rival organization, likening the venture to a group purchasing organization.
Publicly, though, the three have lamented a system where rampant price increases have left the nation with an increasingly heavy financial burden, and it’s a discussion which biopharma companies have a direct interest in.
We will have to wait and see what Gawande has in mind for transforming the system.
Here’s what he had to say today:
I’m thrilled to be named CEO of this healthcare initiative. I have devoted my public health career to building scalable solutions for better healthcare delivery that are saving lives, reducing suffering, and eliminating wasteful spending both in the US and across the world. Now I have the backing of these remarkable organizations to pursue this mission with even greater impact for more than a million people, and in doing so incubate better models of care for all. This work will take time but must be done. The system is broken, and better is possible.
Image: Atul Gawande Getty/Geisinger Health System
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