Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Contact

David Rosen, drosen@citizen.org

Press Release

Amazon Acquisition of One Medical Should Be Rejected Without Robust, Legally Binding Safeguards

WASHINGTON -

Amazon’s proposed acquisition of health care provider One Medical should be rejected unless Amazon commits to robust, legally binding safeguards that protect consumers, competition, and the integrity of the health care system, Public Citizen said today in a letter sent to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, and leaders in Congress.

“The risks to competition, patient privacy and the delivery of quality health are evident. This merger should not be permitted to proceed unless and until strong public interest protections are imposed that will demonstrably address all of those grave dangers,” the letter reads. Public Citizen raised the following concerns:

  1. Amazon may gain an unfair competitive advantage in the health care market. There is good reason to fear that Amazon will leverage its dominant role in the online retail market to gain unfair advantage in health care delivery, for example, through bundling Amazon Prime and One Medical memberships.
     
  2. Amazon may misuse patients’ health data. The personal medical data that One Medical routinely accumulates would be of enormous value to a marketing company such as Amazon, which will have an undeniable and inherent interest in trying to gain access to that most personal of data. Moreover, there are good reasons to worry that Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protections will be inadequate to prevent Amazon from vacuuming up One Medical patients’ data.
     
  3. The merger may exacerbate health care inequalities. Amazon-One Medical is likely to disproportionately serve healthier and wealthier patients. This will leave other health care providers with sicker and less profitable patients – raising overall costs, and worsening health care disparities already experienced by vulnerable populations.
     
  4. The merger could worsen Medicare overbilling. Amazon, through its acquisition of One Medical, would likely build out a primary care network across the country that inflates Medicare payments as part of its business model.
     
  5. The merger may undermine the quality of health care. Amazon’s online business model could deeply erode the quality of primary health care – including preventative, acute, and chronic disease management care. While some virtual visits can enhance consumer access, overly aggressive substitution of in-person medical encounters with virtual visits can work directly against the proper provision for needed in-person care. Relatedly, Amazon’s demand for robot-like efficiency among its employees may well conflict with the imperatives of providing quality health care. And finally…
     
  6. The merger may undermine worker rights at One Medical. Amazon has a well-documented history of hostility to workers exercising their right to form unions. Similarly, One Medical workers have reported being rushed, pressured, stretched out, and unable to deliver the quality of care they believe patients require. Amazon seems likely to worsen these issues.

“The American health care system is broken, but Amazon’s entry as a major health care provider only threatens to make it worse,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “We may get marketing instead of medicine, data harvesting instead of privacy protections, robotic care instead of bedside manner, and more health care disparity instead of more quality. The problem of American health care can be summed up as too much greed and not enough patient care. The Amazon acquisition of One Medical will only deepen that problem.”

###

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people – not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

Economists Fear Fed Minutes Show Central Bank Bent on 'Unleashing Mass Unemployment'

Continued interest rate hikes "risk a recession throwing millions out of work," a pair of experts warned.

Jake Johnson ·


Watchdog: Secret Service Didn't Notify Capitol Police of Threat to Pelosi Until After Jan. 6 Attack

"This is deeply disturbing and requires a full investigation," said one legal expert.

Jessica Corbett ·


Advocates Welcome Temporary Block on South Carolina's 6-Week Abortion Ban

"Today's decision is a huge relief for people who desperately need abortion care in South Carolina right now," said one reproductive rights lawyer.

Brett Wilkins ·


Federal Court Strikes Down Ruling That Blocked Biden's Drilling Moratorium

"Today's decision demonstrates how flawed the preliminary injunction issued in June 2021 was, and that Interior must quickly take action to reform the federal fossil fuel program," said one environmental lawyer.

Julia Conley ·


Two Weeks Before Payments Resume, Progressives Tell Biden 'Time to Cancel Student Debt'

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said that "we're having conversations daily with the White House and borrowers will know directly and soon from us when a decision is made."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo