In his clip, Jessie B expresses his disbelief and concern over Amazon’s entrance into the healthcare space, drawing parallels to the dystopian world of the video game Cyberpunk. “This is literally the plot to cyberpunk… You know, the franchise wh[o]se a mega corporation in a dystopian future controls healthcare and basically decides who lives or dies,” he remarks, half in jest, half in genuine concern. Yes it’s true: Amazon is offering Prime Members health services for $9 a month, but there’s no word yet on when neuro-chips with bionic arm attachments will become available for Prime members.
The reaction from the TikTok community has been a mix of humor, irony, and a healthy dose of existential dread. The top comment wryly notes, “Car insurance through Costco and Health Insurance through Amazon I can’t wait for house insurance by Walmart,” highlighting the growing trend of retail giants branching into unexpected domains. Another user comments, “watch it be better than any other health insurance out there…” pointing to the potential irony of a corporate giant providing superior healthcare to government insurance.
However, not all reactions are light-hearted. One user reflects, “I once wrote an essay about how dystopian fiction (in books) doesn’t really exist anymore because real life is dystopian now and this is a great example.” Anothis adds, “Cyberpunk wasn’t just any game, it was a warning,” underscoring the apprehension that fiction may become, or has already become, reality.
As any user of the platform has come to realize TikTok is more than just a platform for entertainment; it’s a space where real-world issues are discussed, dissected, and debated. The United States’ ongoing struggle with establishing a reliable nationwide healthcare system has opened doors for companies like Costco and Amazon to step in. Amazon’s move into healthcare, while potentially filling a significant void, also raises questions about the increasing influence of corporate entities in our daily lives.
For many Americans, Amazon has become synonymous with convenience and efficiency. In fact, Jeff Bezos said that Amazon could control the world back in 2017. Its venture into healthcare could be seen as a natural progression in its quest to become an indispensable part of everyday life. With an offering like healthcare for as low as $9 a month, it poses a tempting solution, even if it carries a strong whiff of a dystopian future.
Developments like this certainly don’t help to combat the assertion that America is becoming less and less of a democracy and more of a Corporate Republic each and every day. Mega corporations like Amazon enjoy hefty tax breaks, funds that could arguably be used to help fund a single-payer healthcare system in the United States. One could argue that companies offering healthcare results in consumers double-paying for a service, should they elect to pay for a specific service, as the average U.S. citizen pays roughly a quarter of their earnings in taxes to state and federal government officials who dictate how the money is spent. Meanwhile, corporations like Amazon are avoiding paying a percentage-based cut of taxes and are turning around and offering healthcare to consumers.
It could be argued that a shift toward corporate-sponsored healthcare solutions may ultimately foster a sense of competition among various companies vying for people’s bottom dollar. Which could be the kick in the behind America needs when it comes to providing better healthcare for its population because despite being the most costly system in the world, the United States is lagging behind other industrialized nations when it comes to quality of care.
Jessie B’s video and the ensuing discussion on TikTok underscore the platform’s role as a crucible for modern thought and debate. While Amazon’s healthcare initiative might be a pragmatic response to a systemic issue, it also serves as a reminder of the razor thin line between convenience and corporate overreach. As we navigate these unprecedented times, TikTok remains a vital forum for voicing concerns, sharing insights, and perhaps, finding a way forward in an exponentially complicated world.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Amazon via email and Jessie via TikTok comment for further information.
*First Published: Nov 10, 2023, 11:30 pm CST
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot covering trending human interest/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and facts pertinent to these stories to create your not-so-average viral post.
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