Aug 5, 2022

Amazon Healthcare: A Time Whose Idea May Come

Did you like that headline? Maybe you’ll like this subhead, too.

By Ed Goldman

News that Amazon is getting into healthcare in a major way must have hospitals and clinics as wary as they were when the megalithic monster wreaked havoc on book stores, video rental shops and even some grocery outlets, systematically hobbling then gobbling them up

To be sure, Amazon did it by offering lower prices for everything imaginable, based on the Machiavellian business model that largely eluded other companies: give people more for less money and do it more quickly. 

Edgy Cartoon

The hospital-ity business

What a concept.

Nevertheless, the Amazon prototype, which involves creating enough data on each of us to render the religious notion of Free Choice kind of cute, may create questionable advertising practices (now, there’s a marvelously redundant phrase).

Here are five customer recruitment approaches that have crossed our desk:

1. If you already have Crohn’s disease, you’ll love diverticulitis!

2. Adult-onset diabetes? Why not get ahead of the pack with our new Infant Diabetes Enhancers (IDEs), a scientifically proven method of getting toddlers hooked on sugar by introducing Nestle’s Quik chocolate mix into store-bought breast milk. Moms will love the energy bursts coming from their five-week-olds, who may even begin forming words at a much earlier age—like ‘More!’ and ‘Fructose!’ Ask your pediatrician if sugar-coated babies are right for you! Sprinkle some in your child’s formula and applesauce—but not in the oatmeal. For some reason, the chemical reaction is unstable. Here’s an easy way to remember: Beware the IDEs in Mush.

3. Does your Hepatitis A coverage include Medicare-approved Hep B and Hep C? If not, Amazon can help with our new all-inclusive supplemental medical policy, Cirrhosis A Rose Is A Rose. Call our robotic operator now and say, ‘I have Hep!’ You’ll either immediately be transferred to our live chat portal or transported to a 1958 beatnik poetry reading in New York’s East Village.

4. Since you enjoyed the drone delivery of generic pills to reverse your erectile dysfunction, we think you’ll be thrilled to know we can also do drone deliveries of soft-porn books, movies and, heh-heh, graphic novels—as well as, for just a few dollars more, retired sex workers specializing in all acknowledged genders, orientations and fabrics. (Need to pay a little at a time? Ask about our lay-awake policies!)

5. Are you…COVID-Curious? Do you think you may have it—but faint at the mere thought of putting a Q-tip in your nose (even though most of your paychecks went there in the cocaine-mad 1980s)?

Do you distrust at-home tests ever since your high school girlfriend tested positive for pregnancy and it turned out she was? Do you still think the test was somehow to blame for the reprobate now standing in your kitchen demanding you buy him the latest edition of the video game Warcraft—even though he just celebrated his 42nd birthday, has a family of his own and is balding so rapidly he shaves his eyelashes to visually offset it and sends solidarity checks to Jada Pinkett Smith (‘What Chris Rock said at the Oscars was so wrong,’ he maintains)?

If so, we’re sponsoring an online competition you’ll really enjoy:  Amazon’s NonTest Contest. Here’s how it works: You and 4,000 algorithmically selected anti-vaxxers will participate in a Zoom call broadcast on a Jumbotron at Golden 1 Center in California’s capital, home of this season’s eighth losingest NBA team, the Sacramento Kings (top honors for most losses went to the Houston Rockets, barely acing out the prior year’s worst team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. This parenthetical aside was sponsored by ESPN in exchange for promotional consideration).

Those of you who show up will be able to lay claim to having been at a Super-Spreader event that involved neither of this country’s political parties.  Diverticulitis not included in this package. 

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).