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The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that just-unsealed court testimony in a lawsuit aimed at preventing a former insurance company executive from going to work for a new venture launched by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase has shed some light on the three companies’ goals.

The story says that the unnamed startup’s COO, Jack Stoddard, testified that “the venture is focusing on the complexity of health insurance and asking if it can ‘reinvent what insurance looks like in terms of benefit design?’ He said workers are often confused about what their plans cover. Employers could try different approaches and see what works, he suggested.”

Stoddard testified that “the venture will be deploying smaller-scale tests of ideas like making primary-care access easier, or maintenance drugs cheaper. If these ideas work, they could be scaled up among the venture’s owners.

“One goal is to bolster the importance of primary care, he said in the newly public testimony.”

Stoddard also said that “the startup is initially focused on analyzing data to ‘understand where there’s variation in care, quality, where prices don’t match value, where doctors are performing’.”

The lawsuit was filed by UnitedHealth Group. The new venture, according to the Journal, had sought to keep Stoddard’s testimony from being unsealed.
KC's View:
I’m sure that the lawsuit was designed to prevent the executive from going to work for the Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-JPMorgan Chase venture … and that it was just gravy that testimony in the court case gave United - and other, similar companies - a chance to look under the hood at what it might be planning.

I’m curious about the notion that the new venture seems to be more focused on payment than services … though I guess that makes sense, considering the core businesses that they’re all in.