One Medical may be bought by Amazon, pending an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.
One Medical is a concierge-type medical service, a sort of primary care that replaces insurance with flat membership fees. A subsidiary of 1Life Healthcare Inc., One Medical has about 190 offices, serving 25 different markets.
Last week, Amazon announced that they’d be shutting down their own in-home virtual healthcare service, Amazon Care, because it was not ‘meeting customer’ needs.’ Now they want to buy One Medical, which has been operating at a loss, and they’ve reached a $3.9 billion deal to do so.
“We love inventing to make what should be easy easier and we want to be one of the companies that helps dramatically improve the healthcare experience over the next several years,” said Neil Lindsay, senior vice president of Amazon Health Services in a statement.
Groups concerned about Amazon’s already unparalleled market power asked for the FTC to investigate the merger for violation of U.S. antitrust laws. While Amazon has nothing like a monopoly in the healthcare field, their universally-recognized brand name gives them a power in any new market that may be unfair.
“Amazon’s takeover of One Medical is the latest shot in a terrifying new stage in the business model of the world’s largest corporations,” said Barry Lynn, the executive director of Open Markets Institute, an organization that advocates for stricter antitrust regulation. “The deal will expand Amazon’s ability to collect the most intimate and personal of information about individuals, in order to track, target, manipulate, and exploit people in ever more intrusive ways.”
It’s a worthy concern, especially in light of the fact that One Medical has already been under investigation for unethical business practices concerning the COVID-19 vaccines. One ethically dubious company buying another should be concerning. Amazon has said that should the deal go through, One Medical’s CEO Amir Dan Rubin will remain in his position.
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