Amazon might own your doctor’s office after latest acquisition

From Ars Technica:

When Amazon launched Amazon Care to its employees in 2019, the goal was to test the product before rolling it out nationwide. After that rollout happened earlier this year, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy told Insider that the expansion would “fundamentally” change the health care game by dramatically enhancing the medical-care process. He predicted that patients in the future would be so used to telehealth and other new conveniences that they’ll think that things like long wait times and delays between in-person visits commonly experienced today are actually “insane.”

Now, The Wall Street Journal reports, Amazon has gone one step closer to that future by agreeing to a $3.9 billion deal to purchase One Medical, a company that operates a network of health clinics. With this move, Amazon will expand the number of patients it serves by gaining access to “a practice that operates more than 180 medical offices in 25 US markets and works with more than 8,000 companies to provide health benefits to employees, including with in-person and virtual care.”

. . . .

Echoing Jassy’s enthusiasm, Neil Lindsay, Amazon Health Services’ senior vice president, told WSJ that the company thinks “health care is high on the list of experiences that need reinvention.” Purchasing One Medical is a way for Amazon to break further into the $4 trillion health care industry at a time when Amazon’s revenue is down and costs are up.

Link to the rest at Ars Technica

PG is waiting for Alexa to say, “I sense that you have a fever. I can make an appointment with your Amazon physician. She has an opening in 45 minutes.”

5 thoughts on “Amazon might own your doctor’s office after latest acquisition”

  1. I wonder how much money they’ll be willing to eat on this. Insurance companies don’t pay the full price of a visit or procedure. That part is negotiated with the health care providers before the patient even sets foot in the office. In a number of cases, certain things aren’t paid for at all. They can want to revolutionize all they want, but if the insurance companies decide to stop paying for telehealth (which they can at any moment), then what will those patient do about their vaunted plans? In the States at least, CMS is the gold standard of ‘we won’t pay for X thing’ and setting the standard for alot of insurance companies to do the same. (Not all the time, but often if Medicare won’t pay, others won’t either). There’s so much red tape and so many regulations on how billing and coding work. If they say they won’t pay providers who don’t follow their rules, 99% of the hospitals and clinics hop to, because they can’t afford NOT to get paid.

    And that’s not even considering all the self pay people who don’t pay their bills. (Although I can see implementing a card hold before a telehealth visit possibly helping with that).

    Long and short, if the government were to look for a way to squeeze Amazon, I’d point to crippling them regulations in the healthcare industry as a good way.

  2. This is a classic situation where Engineer (“I know what would make more sense (and I am never wrong”)) meets Organic System (“I am politically evolved and minds have self-destructed trying to change me as if I were logically constructed”). This is known as misclassification — it’s not a technical problem looking for a solution.

    I know where I would place my bet… especially if I’m playing with my own money.

    • Is this a roundabout way of saying that the American health care system is beyond reform, short of the kind of political convulsion that will burn it to the ground and salt the earth?

  3. I’d hate to have to depend on a company that bans people on a whim to be in charge of my healthcare. If I say the wrong thing, I could wake up one morning without a doctor anymore.

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