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Why did Haven fail?

February 25, 2021

Topics: Quote of the Day

By Cheryl Clark
MedPage Today, February 19, 2021

When they made their bold announcement in mid 2018, three corporate powerhouses — Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon, and JP Morgan Chase — were going to revolutionize the healthcare delivery system.

After all, they had author, innovator, and surgeon Atul Gawande, MD, at the helm.

But less than three years later, the companies acknowledged the effort known as Haven would dissolve by the end of this month.

In a nutshell, the concept was fatally flawed, (Gawande) said, in so many words.

On the good side, he said, the effort accomplished a lot. In its two and a half years of existence, Haven’s thought leaders designed a coverage model with no co-insurance, no deductibles, no cost for 60 critical drugs, and low-cost mental health services and primary care.

But the pandemic brought home a critical point. “We have an employer-based system. A job-based system is a broken system in a world where people are moving every couple of years to different roles and many, many, kinds of jobs,” he said.

“The pandemic has really brought this out in spades,” he said, as the lockdowns cost many workers their jobs, and thus the health insurance that came with them.

“The vulnerability we have of tying your healthcare to your job, that remains still a big hill to climb, and the government has to solve it. That is a public core issue that we still have not faced up to,” Gawande said.



By Don McCanne

“Tying your healthcare to your job, that remains still a big hill to climb, and the government has to solve it,” so says Atul Gawande. Apparently Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon agree since they are walking away from any effort to try to revolutionize our health care system.

What is the obvious solution? A single payer model of an improved Medicare for All. These icons of corporate America know that. It’s too bad they won’t say it.

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About the Commentator, Don McCanne

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Don McCanne is a retired family practitioner who dedicated the 2nd phase of his career to speaking and writing extensively on single payer and related issues. He served as Physicians for a National Health Program president in 2002 and 2003, then as Senior Health Policy Fellow. For two decades, Don wrote "Quote of the Day", a daily health policy update which inspired HJM.

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