back to article Oracle's Larry Ellison shares fears of bankrupting Western civilization with healthcare

During the keynote of Oracle's annual sales jamboree in Las Vegas, founder and CTO Larry Ellison took the opportunity to offer some profound insight into the state of healthcare in the US and Europe. "If we're not careful… we're gonna bankrupt Western civilization unless we find a more efficient way of providing healthcare to …

  1. msknight

    Bronzed but wanting to live forever

    Unless he's put on fake tan, surely he should be aware of the risk of sun exposure and how it might dent his plans for immortality... or does he have a solution to skin cancer than none of us know about?

    1. Sam Haine

      Re: Bronzed but wanting to live forever

      Mole mapping with digital photography.

    2. mevets

      Re: Bronzed but wanting to live forever

      Chronic alcohol consumption can cause excessive pigmentation. Alcohol-induced dementia also explains many of Larry-the-asshole's public issues.

  2. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    This is the company

    Which last time I looked, was charging £90 for 2 years dynamic dns services via which they now own

    Someone please give these people a mirror to look at

    As to his interest in healthcare, that interest probably only goes as far as to how lucrative it can be, and if anyone is doing bankrupting, it should be them doing it

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is the company

      He probably had a $1,000,000 doctor's bill and thought "That's a lot right... right?". So, this weekend he's pondering how ordinary people survive. Next week he's pondering why his 100 man yacht can't fly. Dementia is setting in.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is the company

      I'm pretty sure the financial death of the world will be at the behest of the greedy techbros and megacorps, not mere health care. Its going to take more than one industry to bankrupt a nation (unless of course, you're talking the military, who can always outspend any budget they're granted by simply awarding contracts for $500 "mil spec" hammers with olive green handles.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is the company

        The old $500 hammer trope. Not true friend. These costs are caused by government regulations and mil standards. Because shits like Larry Ellison over promise and under deliver the government has to verify over and over again that the product they received meets mil specs. Guess what when the military orders a new multimillion part the contractor is required to add a specified overhead. When you add $450 dollars to that it is noise. When you add it to a single low cost item it is noticable.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is the company

          The end result is still waste measured in trillions, no matter what the excuse is...

  3. eswan

    "Oracle's Larry Ellison shares dreams of bankrupting Western civilization with healthcare"

    Fixed that for you.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      Into how many (usable+superfluous+spare+burried) oracle licenses does that translate?

  4. Tim 11

    $10B for a unified electronic records database

    Give me an afternoon with React and DynamoDB and I reckon I could get it going for, let's say 1/2 million?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: $10B for a unified electronic records database

      And how are you going to pay for all the non-executive directorships for the health agency bosses on that budget?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just imagine ..

    .. how much research and healtcare could be provided for the price of just one personal island..

  6. cantankerous swineherd

    patient bleeding out in front of doctor: oh noes, I'll have fuck about with a computer so I can look at their records, said no one ever.

  7. Withdrawn

    records database for the United States

    So many in the US are suspicious of the healthcare industry, many see what they interpret as misdiagnosis and mistreatment in the name of profits, or outright denial of necessary care by insurance companies. There is a lot trust to be earned back in healthcare here before (I would estimate) half the population even thinks about consenting to a federal database. Even before we get to the subject of healthcare, the phrase "federal database" will rile up millions the moment it is uttered, knowing it will be another pie for government to stick their thumbs into.

    1. rnturn

      Re: records database for the United States

      Yep. "federal database" will become "government takeover of healthcare" before you can blink.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: records database for the United States

        Never mind, that still leaves 194 countries with 7.4 billion people. Not bad as a potential market.

      2. nijam Silver badge

        Re: records database for the United States

        It's a moot point as to whether a "government takeover of healthcare" is better or worse than (say) an "Oracle takeover of healthcare".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: records database for the United States

          Not entirely moot - you know the corporate world will never have any qualms about forcing you into bankruptcy. You have a glimmer of a hope that a good election might prevent that for government healthcare, at least during the term of an office.

    2. stiine Silver badge

      Re: records database for the United States

      Its not their thumbs that they're going to stick in it.

      If heathcare is too expensive, then simply stop providing it. How hard was that?

  8. Scene it all


    Denmark has some experience with a central health database, so people traveling would always have access to records. AT least that was the idea. I am not clear on how well it worked out.

    The trouble with a 'single national database' for a country the size of the US is it becomes a single point of failure unless it is highly replicated. EVen Denmark's was replicated. As far as I know, Oracle does not have much experience at all in truly replicated databases, other than master/slave copying. Add to that Oracle's track record of borking every large database project they have ever been hired to develop.

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge

      Re: Experience

      I remember an Oracle database used by a project I was working on in the early naughties. It was replicated in five data centers, so the schema appropriately looked like a pentagram.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Experience

      Personally I'd rather be able to carry an encrypted copy of my own records in a standard format - much less of a honeypot for ne'er-do-wells and corporate data harvesters.

      1. Scene it all

        Re: Experience

        Excellent idea. A "Smart Card" that fits in your wallet easily has enough storage for that these days. It is not like you need to have a copy of an MRI from 10 years ago on you at all times, but certainly a few years of doctor visits, test results, prescriptions, etc. The doctor pops it into his reader device, you enter your PIN, and he can see your records.

  9. Il'Geller

    Larry, of course, does not mention that Oracle has the only solution, I would even say the only cure for the problem, which he is ready to sell quite inexpensively.

    1. Il'Geller

      “Larry Ellison may want to create a central health records database for the United States, but given that he's 78 years old, he'd be very lucky to see the end of the project.”

      Of course, I do not know and can only guess what Oracle has, but based on the description of the technology used published by Oracle itself, I can conclude that perhaps Oracle is close to commercializing its product. At the same time, it seems that in this not-SQL database there will be no need for manual classification of information by categories, but the search by meaning. So Larry has a good chance to see this new database within a very few years. And those mistakes that were made are OK, so it is impossible to do new things without trials and failures.

      This is what I meant saying “ Oracle has the only solution”, even if others may have it too and Oracle could loose the competition. .

  10. Snowy Silver badge

    There are no

    Nice billionaires!!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If he paid his tax it would help


  12. earl grey
    Big Brother

    so tell me what happens

    when this "single point of failure" gets hacked and everyone's personal health data is released to the interweb.

  13. Democracy Defender

    Why Are We Listening To Him?

    It has been accurately reported that Larry Ellison is one of the top five contributors this election cycle to the candidacies of the major election deniers. Given that fact, why would anyone listen to anything he has to say about the future of Western civilization when he doesn't believe in Western style democracies or the fundamental principles on which they are based? Having worked for this man for 6 years in the early 2000s, I experienced THE most toxic work culture of my entire career. Now he appears bent on taking that culture from inside the four walls of Oracle and implanting it into American politics. The most important thing we can do with regard to American oligarchs like Larry Ellison (and Elon Musk, etc), is to deny them a platform and not listen to a word they say. They should really all go to their private islands, sit quietly in the corner and count their billions, and not try to "buy" the American government..

  14. grandours


    Our hospital system just signed an agreement to use Cerner. I've heard horror stories about it and about all the extra time it will take to use it compared with our current antiquated system. I know many physicians who are planning on retiring as soon as it gets rolled out. I don't know why it seems like all professional healthcare software seems to be designed with no input from end users.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: *Sigh*

      Unfortunately the centralized model with only a few customers usually means down time, IME. I showed up for an appointment at a major university clinic one day while the whole system (Epic) was down. I waited it out - advantage of being a remote worker - and got to watch the practice shut down for hours, not because they didn't know what to do but because they couldn't get to the patient information. No check in, no review of symptoms, no COVID screening, no allergy information, no medical history... way too much room for malpractice if a patient forgets to mention something.

      I toyed with Cerner some years ago and it seemed fine, though I am sure there are many site-specific customizations to make one install more or less usable. Of course trying to teach medical doctors* anything they aren't practiced in, no matter how trivial, feels like teaching cats to sing - there will be a lot of wailing! So hopefully you won't find it as bad as you've heard. :)

      * And I mean no disrespect to medical doctors, I don't even think it's inappropriate that all their attention goes to their practice.

      1. grandours

        Re: *Sigh*

        "I am sure there are many site-specific customizations to make one install more or less usable."

        I'm sure you are right. Unfortunately, I expect that we won't see the benefits of most of the possible customizations/optimizations here.

        Epic has just been deployed at a friend's hospital, where he works as an emergency department physician. He says his efficiency has decreased by around 30-50% since it was rolled out. That has a direct impact on patients, as people have to wait longer to be seen, and fewer people can be seen. It's no wonder we're in the middle of a health care crisis here in Canada (though this is just one of the many reasons for the crisis).

        I understand the point about the difficulties teaching medical doctors about new tech, but some systems are just shite, even in the hands of the most tech-savvy. One can moan about doctors if one wishes, but they are who will be using the software, so the software had better be designed to be easy to use for physicians. Apple gets it. Makers of most professional medical software do not. I'm looking at you G.E.!

      2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge


        In my not-so-humble opinion, implementing (whether your IT staff wrote the software, or you bought Epic, Cerner, etc.) an Electronic Medical Records system (100% computerized) without a tested and working fallback system is both professional and criminal irresponsibility, and ought involve jail time for all the perpetrators: every executive which approved the system, and the IT staff which installed the system. My reasons for this opinion:

        In a manual, paper-and-films-based system, a misfiling affects one, or possibly two patients.

        In an EMR system, a system slowdown or downage affects all inpatients, and potentially effects outpatients.

    2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      "designed with no input from end users"

      Ego. From (some) managers, "I'm in charge! I make the decisions around here!" From (some) programmers, "I don't care what the users want. I know better. Leave me alone -- I'm designing my masterpiece here."

      Add marketers, who in some companies have disproportionate power, coupled with ignorance/disinterest of technical issues, saying, "We'll sell a lot more copies if we do it like this ..." to high-level executives.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm, healthcare is too expensive, so lets sign it up for the most egregiously expensive database service on the planet. Right.

  16. TheOldSport

    Larry Ellison is PART of the problem. He merely wants cut into more of the healthcare dollars. This man has no clue as to why healthcare is about to disintegrate.

  17. xyz123 Silver badge

    People still use Oracle?

    I thought it went away with VHS tapes, CDs and gramaphone cabinets.

    Ah well I guess retro IS in fashion. Slow clunky, inefficient, crazy crazy expensive retro.

  18. Shtaka

    Saying that Cerner "won" the VA contract implies there was a competition. There wasn't. They were granted the contract through connections with the administration.

  19. julian.smith

    Looking for solutions

    If you are looking for solutions to healthcare, I wouldn't start with the USA.

    Call me when the USA has a functional National Health system

    Australia has one that works pretty well.

    Only the crackpot RWNJs are interested in adopting the the US "model"

  20. Bluegrassbeer

    The gift that keeps on giving, in the eyes of Epic. Hospitals in US (large ones anyway) are switching over from Cerner to Epic. Might as well get your social media or electric cars from Musk if you prefer uncertainty.

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