Public Citizen advises US decision makers to investigate the Amazon-One Medical merger

Public Citizen advises US decision makers to investigate the Amazon-One Medical merger

Public Citizen advised that Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical should be rejected if Amazon did not adhere to strong, legally binding safeguards in a letter sent today to authorized US decision makers.

The article was updated on August 4th with a comment from an Amazon spokesperson.

Public Citizen advised to reject Amazon’s proposed acquisition of healthcare provider, One Medical, in a message He dispatched the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Federal Trade Commission, the US Department of Justice, and leaders in Congress.

Today, the non-profit consumer advocacy group that advocates for democracy and works to ensure government works for the people wrote that the merger should be investigated or “rejected unless Amazon adheres to strong, legally binding safeguards that protect consumers, competition, and the integrity of the healthcare system.”

The citizen public raised the following concerns:

  1. Amazon may gain an unfair competitive advantage in the healthcare market.
    There is good reason to fear that Amazon will take advantage of its dominant role in the online retail market to gain an unfair advantage in providing healthcare, for example, by pooling Amazon Prime and One Medical memberships, according to a release from Public Citizen.
  2. Amazon may misuse patients’ health data.
    The personal medical data One Medical routinely collects would be of immense value to a marketing company like Amazon, which would have an undeniable inherent interest in trying to gain access to that personal data.
  3. Integration may exacerbate inequality in health care.
    According to Public Citizen, Amazon-One Medical is disproportionately likely to serve the healthiest and wealthiest patients. This will leave other health care providers with sicker patients and less profitable — raising overall costs, and increasing health care disparities already experienced by vulnerable populations.
  4. A merger can exacerbate overstating Medicare expenses.
    Amazon, through its acquisition of One Medical, will likely create a nationwide primary care network that will inflate Medicare payments as part of its business model.
  5. The merger may undermine the quality of health care.
    Amazon’s online business model can severely compromise the quality of primary health care – including preventive, acute and chronic disease management care. While some virtual visits can enhance consumer access, excessive substitution of in-person medical encounters with virtual visits can work directly against the appropriate provision of needed in-person care. Likewise, Amazon’s demand for robot-like competence among its employees may conflict with the imperatives of providing high-quality healthcare.
  6. The merger may undermine the rights of workers at One Medical.
    The statement said Amazon has a well-documented history of hostility to workers exercising their right to form unions. Similarly, a medical professional reported being rushed, stressed, stretched out, and unable to provide the quality of care they believed patients needed. It seems likely that Amazon will exacerbate these issues.

According to a statement from Robert Wiseman, president of Public Citizen, in the release, the US healthcare system is disrupted, but the entry of Amazon as a major healthcare provider could make matters worse.

“We might get marketing instead of medicine, data collection instead of privacy protection, robotic care instead of bed-style, more health care disparities instead of more quality,” Wiseman said. “The problem of American health care can be summed up as too much greed.” . and insufficient patient care. Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical will only deepen this problem.”

An Amazon spokesperson commented on the statement regarding the safety of One Medical’s member information.

The company spokesperson wrote: “As required by law, Amazon will never share the personal health information of One Medical customers outside of One Medical for the purposes of advertising or marketing other Amazon products and services without the express permission of the customer. In the event of a transaction closed, the protected health information will be treated under HIPAA law for one medical customer separately from all other Amazon companies, as required by law.”

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