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Jamie Dimon Tackles Rising Health Care Costs, Diversity Challenges and More

Guest Author
June 5, 2019

Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., headlined a keynote address this morning at the 2019 BIO International Convention. He chatted with Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of BIO, about what drives him, what he learned from fighting throat cancer and how he would fix some of our nation’s most pressing challenges, from rising health care costs and climate change to boosting diversity in the workplace.

“The root of you comes from your parents and the values you have,” Dimon said. Raised to believe that he should do his part to make the world a better place, he has always sought opportunities to make a larger contribution to society, he shared.

In 2014, Dimon was diagnosed with throat cancer, and he said his experience fighting cancer taught him to live more deliberately. “I eat better, exercise more and am more thoughtful about certain things,” he said. “After you’ve had cancer, you know there’s an end date to life and you treat things a little differently.”

 He urged all of America’s youth—including boys—to get the HPV vaccine, which is one of the main causes of some types of throat cancer.

With healthcare spending expected to hit 19.4% GDP in the next decade, Dimon acknowledged that we have the best pharma, biotech, innovation and treatment centers in the world, but also some of the worst outcomes, including rising health care costs for patients, an opioid epidemic and an obesity problem that drives cancer, depression, stroke and diabetes.

To tackle rising health care costs, Dimon recently partnered with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett on health care venture Haven that aims to improve health care for employees, using a model similar to Amazon’s small-scale operation during its beginning stages. A major component of this initiative is to advocate for the patient and serve as an ally to clinicians, industry leaders, innovators and policymakers to improve patient care and costs.

Dimon recently eliminated health insurance deductibles for all JPMorgan Chase & Co. employees earning less than $60,000 per year.

When BIO’s Greenwood asked Dimon what he would do differently if he were to become president—though he said he has no plans to run for presidential nomination—Dimon detailed dreams of inner cities that do not leave poor children behind, a push for more affordable education and greater efforts to tackle climate change.

Dimon is also committed to increasing diversity in the workplace, with many diversity and inclusion initiatives successfully at play at JPMorgan Chase & Co. “Wall Street is way ahead of everybody else,” he said. “If you’re the boss, you have to sit with people at the table who are different than you.”

“American innovation is unbelievable,” Dimon said, adding that it’s time to acknowledge the problems in our country and do a better job of taking care of the American public.