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'Good': Billionaire-Backed Effort to Upend US Healthcare System Collapses After Just 3 Years

"For-profit corporations ruined our healthcare system. They're not going to be the ones to fix it."

Public health workers, doctors, and nurses protest over lack of sick pay and personal protective equipment outside a hospital in the Bronx on April 17, 2020.

Public health workers, doctors, and nurses protest over lack of sick pay and personal protective equipment outside a hospital in the Bronx on April 17, 2020. (Photo: Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

Single-payer healthcare advocates shed no tears in response to news Monday that Haven, a healthcare venture started three years ago by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase—announced it's shutting down next month.

"These corporate kingpins had every incentive to show that private health insurance can still work. They failed. Spectacularly."
—Eagan Kemp, Public Citizen
"Capitalists broke our healthcare system. They are never going to fix it," tweeted progressive advocacy group Public Citizen.

 According to CNBC, which first reported on the news,

The company began informing employees Monday that it will shut down by the end of next month, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Many of the Boston-based firm's 57 workers are expected to be placed at Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, or JPMorgan Chase as the firms each individually push forward in their efforts, and the three companies are still expected to collaborate informally on healthcare projects, the people said.

Haven was launched in 2018 by the companies—each headed by a billionaire—for their employees in an effort to "disrupt" the nation's healthcare system. "Our people want transparency, knowledge, and control when it comes to managing their healthcare," JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said at the time. "The three of our companies have extraordinary resources, and our goal is to create solutions that benefit our U.S. employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans."

A new statement posted on the Haven website states:

In the past three years, Haven explored a wide range of healthcare solutions, as well as piloted new ways to make primary care easier to access, insurance benefits simpler to understand and easier to use, and prescription drugs more affordable.

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Moving forward, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. will leverage these insights and continue to collaborate informally to design programs tailored to address the specific needs of their own employee populations.

Haven will end its independent operations at the end of February 2021.

The Medicare for All campaign of the the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) was blunt in its assessment of the development:

Eagan Kemp, healthcare policy advocate with Public Citizen, suggested that Haven's failure points to a different kind of disruption the nation's healthcare system would better benefit from.

"These corporate kingpins had every incentive to show that private health insurance can still work. They failed. Spectacularly," Kemp tweeted.

"For-profit corporations ruined our healthcare system. They're not going to be the ones to fix it," he said. "Medicare for All is the solution."

Progressive lawmakers including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), meanwhile, have previously have called for taxing billionaire's wealth to provide all Americans with healthcare coverage—a plan most U.S. adults want.

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