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.
Carlos Ghosn has been re-arrested in Tokyo while out on bail. The former Nissan chief has been hit with fresh charges over the alleged misuse of company funds. Ghosn said the arrest was “part of another attempt by some individuals at Nissan to silence me by misleading the prosecutors,” adding: “Why arrest me except to try to break me? I will not be broken.” Wall Street Journal
Tesla deliveries fell by a whopping 31% in Q1, thanks to serious delays in shipping the Model 3 to China and Europe for the first time. Tesla said the delivery drop would hit its net income for the quarter, as would recent price cuts. Wall Street had anticipated a problematic quarter for the company, but its shares still fell by almost 8%. New York Times
The first official report on last month’s Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max crash is out. According to the Ethiopian transport ministry, the plane nosedived and its crew “performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft.” Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges: “Since repetitive uncommanded aircraft nose down conditions are noticed… it is recommended that the aircraft control system shall be reviewed by the manufacturer.” Reuters
The will-they-won’t-they Deutsche-Bank-Commerzbank merger drama just got more interesting. The Financial Times reported this morning that, if the government-backed merger talks fail, Italy’s UniCredit may swoop in with its own bid for control of Commerzbank. UniCredit would seek to merge Commerzbank with another, smaller German bank that it already owns—HypoVereinsbank. That would supposedly allow the new entity to be described as a German “national champion,” which seems to be what the German government is after. Financial Times
Around the Water Cooler
Larry Kudlow says China has finally admitted the U.S. has legitimate concerns over intellectual property theft, hacking and forced technology transfers. The White House economic advisor said the Chinese had previously been “in denial” about these concerns, but now there was “great progress.” Remarkably, Kudlow also said the subject of Huawei hadn’t come up during talks. CNBC
MIT vs. Huawei
MIT has abruptly stopped working with Huawei and China’s other huge telecoms equipment maker, ZTE, because U.S. federal authorities are investigating potential sanctions violations. Other U.S. educational facilities have already halted work with top Chinese companies due to federal funding restrictions. MIT also said it is reviewing its collaborations with China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Reuters
Talks yesterday between Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn were reportedly “constructive,” which is nice. Meanwhile, the House of Commons passed—by one vote—a bill that would force May to ask for another extension to avoid a no-deal Brexit. The upper house of Parliament, the House of Lords, will debate the bill today. May has said she wants another short extension, but the EU won’t agree to it, so any new extension would have to be long and involve the U.K. fielding candidates for next month’s European Parliament election. BBC
One of China’s biggest European investments is the 35-year lease held in the crucial Greek port of Piraeus (since the pre-Belt-and-Road days of 2009) by the China Ocean Shipping Company, or Cosco. Bad news for Cosco: archeological authorities have blocked the construction of a mall next to a new cruise ship terminal, and placed restrictions on plans for a five-star hotel around the same location. Piraeus was the main port for the Athenian fleet some 2,500 years ago, so it really is, as the authority has declared, “of archeological interest.” Ekathimerini