by Gerard Sarnat
As a city block kid on the Southside of Chicago, I earned a handsome living playing
marbles, specializing in winning boulders and cat’s eyes and greenies and puries.
When we moved a few thousand miles uptown to Beverly Hills, I adapted to make
my killing at a table tennis set-up housed in a run-down leaky hut in our backyard
that is until this nondescript pleasant man, maybe fifteen years older than fellow
teens I vanquished, arrived to hand me defeat after defeat but refused to take a cent.
Then after I’d finished fancy-schmancy training, was cutting my teeth as a wonderful
down-and- out Spanish-speaking community health center’s internist/ later-on medical
director, he called from Omaha (which is in Nebraska) to offer a job as Director of
Public Health -- though flattering, it wasn’t in my young NorCal fam’s game plan.
Now here we are forty or so years passed, and Warren is joining Jeff and Jamie
as Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon, and JPMorgan Chase this morining announced
they’d form a company to initially focus on technology to provide simplified,
high-quality health care for their US employees and families at a reasonable cost.
A press release said the initiative, which admittedly is in the early planning stages,
would be a long-term effort “free from profit-making incentives and constraints.”
The partnership brings together three of the country’s most influential companies to
help improve a health care system that other companies have tried and failed to change:
Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer; JPMorgan Chase, the largest US bank; and
Berkshire Hathaway, founded during Ping-Pong by legendary investor Warren E. Buffett.
“The health care system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed
about the degree of difficulty,” Jeff Bezos, said Amazon’s founder and chief executive.
“…Reducing health care’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes... worth
the effort… require talented experts, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation.”
Mr. Buffett added: “The ballooning costs of health care act as a hungry tapeworm…
Our group does not come to this problem with answers… but we also do not accept it as
inevitable...putting our collective resources behind the country’s best talent can, in time,
check the rise in costs while concurrently enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes.”
Tuesday’s announcement again highlighted investor worry about Amazon disrupting the
health care industry. Shares of UnitedHealth were down 5 percent in premarket trading
while Anthem’s were down 3.5 percent, erasing gains such companies have made over the past 12 months… If only we’d taken the invite to move to Omaha in The Seventies...
Gerard Sarnat has won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize and been nominated for Pushcarts. Gerry’s authored four collections: HOMELESS CHRONICLES from Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014) and Melting The Ice King (2016). Mount Analogue selected Sarnat’s sequence, KADDISH FOR THE COUNTRY, for distribution as a pamphlet in Seattle on Inauguration Day 2017 as well as the next morning as part of the Washington DC and nationwide Women’s Marches. In May “Amber Of Memory” was the single poem chosen for Gerry s 50th college reunion symposium on Bob Dylan; the Harvard Advocate accepted a second plus Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, etc. in and outside the US accepted concurrent pieces. In August Failed Haiku presented his work first among over a hundred contributors. Late in 2017 Beautiful Loser’s main spread was Sarnat’s poetry accompanied by an interview. In January 2018, among other acceptances, six Sarnat poems were featured in True Living Documented Relentlessly [TL;DR], his work was front page in International Journal Of Modern Poetry, and pieces were accepted by Australian and Indian publications. For Huffington Post/other reviews, readings, publications, interviews; visit GerardSarnat.com. Harvard/Stanford educated, Gerry’s worked in jails, built/staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a CEO of healthcare organizations and Stanford Medical School professor. Married since 1969, he has three children, four grandkids.