Dr. Bezos Will See You Now

Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

After dabbling in the health-care business over the past few years, Amazon is diving in headlong.

On Thursday morning, the tech giant announced it was purchasing One Medical, a company that provides boutique primary-care service in locations across the country. Amazon will pay $18 a share, and $3.9 billion in total for the company, in an all-cash deal.

In a statement, senior vice-president of Amazon Health Services Neil Lindsay said, “We think health care is high on the list of experiences that need reinvention,” a sentiment with which many Americans would likely agree — even if the prospect of an already hugely powerful corporation doing the reinventing may not be what some had in mind.

One Medical operates in 16 cities, per its website, and offers both in-person and virtual care. Like Amazon Prime, it operates on a subscription model: Patients pay $199 per year, before insurance and out-of-pocket costs, in return for what the company advertises as a streamlined, tech-forward experience. It also sells its services to companies, which include them as part of their health-care plans. One Medical went public in 2020. It’s not clear to what extent it will remain independent under Amazon’s ownership.

Amazon has slowly but surely been expanding into the health-care sector in recent years. It bought the online pharmacy PillPack in 2018 and pioneered the use of telehealth appointments among its employees in 2019, later signing up multiple other companies for that service, known as Amazon Care. But Haven, a high-profile venture between Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway, which was meant to tamp down health-care costs among those three corporations and perhaps beyond, ended up going nowhere — a measure of how difficult the notoriously byzantine industry is to crack.

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Dr. Bezos Will See You Now