What We're Reading: JPMorgan Chief Talks Healthcare; White House Report Criticized; Tracking Drug Firms' Donations

JPMorgan CEO gives more details about the healthcare venture with Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway; a White House report on insurers comes under scrutiny; a database tracks pharmaceutical donations to patient groups.

JPMorgan CEO Gives More Details About Healthcare Venture With Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon gave more details about the partnership between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and his institution in his annual letter to the bank’s shareholders, Bloomberg reported. The letter suggests that the timeline will be long and the venture would start small, with priorities focused on aligning incentives among doctors, insurers, and patients; reducing fraud and waste; giving employees more access to telemedicine and better wellness programs; and figuring out why so much money is spent on end-of-life care. He also said the partnership will use big data and virtual technology.

White House Report on Insurers Comes Under Scrutiny

Last month, the White House released a report from its Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) claiming that health insurers were doing well. But the report does not stand up to fact-based objective economic analysis, which is what the CEA is supposed to do even as it supports a president’s policies, The Washington Post reported. In particular, the Post cited the creation of a stock index of insurers that are no longer in the individual marketplace as one piece of the flawed report.

Database Tracks Pharma Donations to Patient Groups

Kaiser Health News created a database to track pharmaceutical company donations to patient advocacy groups and found that companies gave at least $116 million in a single year, more than their lobbying expenditures. The database logged 12,000 donations in 2015, the most recent full year in which documents required by the IRS were available. Companies do not have to report these payments, and experts said the ties to patients groups could be troubling if the groups then do not act in the best interests of the patients they serve. For instance, some patient groups have been silent on or slow to complain about rising drug costs.