Revolution Health, the brainchild of AOL founder Steve Case, is still in talks to sell its health portal to a rival, Everyday Health. The combination would have bested WebMD, the No. 1 health-site operator — until WebMD bought QualityHealth.com today. The Revolution-Everyday deal, meanwhile, could happen within a week — but is currently stuck on financing. Arranging the money to consummate the sale is proving difficult, with Wall Street more concerned with its own survival than the health of Case's startup venture. One way or another, it seems all but certain that Case's Revolution Healthwill end up sold, without much transformation to show for his troubles.Case's quest to transform the healthcare industry has tragically earnest roots; he started the effort after his brother, Dan, died of brain cancer. Hospital bureaucracy always frustrates the patient's kin — but suffering does not always lead to wisdom. Dan, a tech investment banker, might have cautioned Case against this plan. Revolution Health has ended up as a mere information middleman, buying ads on Google and then selling the users who click on them to other advertisers. That's why it inevitably needs to sell; online advertising is a game of volume. With Google eager to bulk up its own health efforts, it's not clear how much longer there will be room for third parties to play. And arbitrage is hardly a revolutionary exercise. Someone needs to fix the healthcare system. Case's story is suitably tragic; his motivation, noble. But he's not the man for the job.
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