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Amazon, Berkshire and JPMorgan Seek to Form Healthcare Giant

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With the Obamacare individual mandate repealed and U.S. tax reform initiated, in the aggregate, large listed U.S. corporations – in a majority of cases – are forecasting wider profit margins. Companies that have arbitraged control of key industries with excess capital are coming up with solutions to provide benefits for their workers.

The titan of e-commerce, the Oracle of Omaha, and America’s largest bank sent stocks across the healthcare industry tumbling on January 30, 2018 with the announcement that they would be joining forces to form an independent entity “free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” aimed at providing simple, high-quality medical care to their U.S. employees. Would these titans of industry want to follow a similar path such as Kaiser Permanente – whose origins started with Kaiser Industries? Chinese tech giants such as Tencent and Alibaba have already put capital toward the healthcare technology space with prodding from Beijing. Alibaba had success with software that can understand and interpret CT scans.

Unlike U.S. Congress, which can be lobbied by large pharmaceutical companies to keep prescriptions relatively high, this new private entity would be highly incentivized to keep costs as low as possible.

Questions Arise

While the sparsely-worded press release provided little in the way of concrete details regarding the initiative’s long-term goals, the leaders of each company – Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet, and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase – seem prepared to do what it takes over the long haul to give the healthcare industry a much-needed shakeup.

“The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy. Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable,” said Buffet, adding that, “We share the belief that putting our collective resources behind the country’s best talent can, in time, check the rise in health costs while concurrently enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes.”

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Korea’s NPS Invests In Crypto Exchanges Amid Crackdown

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South Korean news outlets have reported that South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) has unwittingly invested roughly US$ 2.4 million in four local cryptocurrency exchanges – Korbit, Upbit, Coinplug, and Bithumb – even as regulatory officials move to subdue the unbridled enthusiasm for crypto trading that has flourished in the tiny country. The US$ 550 billion pension scheme invested in the cryptocurrency exchanges indirectly through two venture capital funds handled by external managers with exclusive rights over asset allocation, according to an NPS officer.

Crypto trading has proved wildly popular in South Korea, drawing an estimated one million citizens to the largely unregulated exchanges that have cropped up over the past few years. South Korea, which is ranked first in the world in terms of internet sped, is the largest market for cryptocurrency transactions behind Japan and United States, and accounts for 29.8% of trade globally, according to a report released by the Korea Insurance Research Institute (KIRI) in December 2017.

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Ripple Attempts to go the Central Bank Route

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San Francisco-based Ripple, a tech company that professes the use of blockchain to reboot the payment systems globally, landed a big deal with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA). Ripple started a pilot program that will be spearheaded by SAMA and a few Saudi banks to deploy xCurrent for cross-border payments. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Investment Corporation of Dubai Eyes $1 Billion Loan Deal

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The Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) plans to raise US$ 1 billion in a loan to refinance existing debt. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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