By Alan Murray and David Meyer
April 4, 2019

Good morning.

Health care was topic of the week for the Trump-obsessed media, as the president first promised to devise a replacement to the Affordable Care Act, then abruptly abandoned the effort under pressure from Congressional Republicans.

But at Fortune Brainstorm Health in San Diego, the Washington word war got barely a mention. Instead, participants in the two-day event focused more on technology—and in particular A.I., and its power to turn data into insight. “The one thing that doctors respond to is data,” said Toby Cosgrove, former CEO of Cleveland Clinic and now an advisor to Google. Their first response is usually, “I don’t believe the data.” Then it takes six months to convince them, and another six to move the needle. “Making it transparent brings peer pressure, which is potent.”

Various entrepreneurs demonstrated how the pursuit of profit can drive health change. Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani provided testament to the power of heartbreak. Following his father’s diagnosis, and ultimate death, from pancreatic cancer, he created a company to harness focused light rays to drive cancer cures,

And former GE CEO Jeff Immelt talked about the role large companies can play in fixing health care. Immelt said it was only during the financial crisis that he realized GE was spending $3 billion a year on health care for employees—more than it was making in its health care business. “One of the failures of the U.S. health care system is that employers haven’t been very good purchasers of health care,” Immelt said. Run that effort like a business, and “that will be a catalyst…for how world change gets made.”

For CEO Daily readers who wonder whether Immelt commented on the plummeting fortunes of GE, the answer is: no. The best explanation of that sad story is still Geoff Colvin’s piece for Fortune, which you can read here.

More news below. And take time to check out Arianna Huffington’s compelling interview with Edie Falco, which closed out the Brainstorm Health event.

Alan Murray


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