Warren Buffett said "out of control" health care costs are a "tapeworm" limiting growth in an economy recovering only fitfully from the financial crisis.
The world's second-richest person called on Washington policymakers to adopt fundamental reforms on such costs to address what he called a "national emergency."
He said health care eats up 17 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, at a time when many other countries pay only nine or 10 percent of GDP but have more doctors, nurses and hospital beds per capita.
"It's like a tapeworm eating at our economic body," Buffett said on CNBC television.
"If it was a choice today between Plan A, which is what we've got, or Plan B, which is the Senate bill, I would vote for the Senate bill," he said. "But I would much rather see a Plan C that really attacks costs, and I think that's what the American public wants to see."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100301/bs_nm/us_berkshire_buffettRising costs, Buffett said, are holding back an economy that faced an "economic Pearl Harbor" in late 2008 when capital markets seized up.
While he said "we got past Pearl Harbor" and "we will win the war," he said the recovery remains slow, including in many businesses at his insurance and investment company Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) (BRKb.N). Absent a major outside shock, "we will continue moving upward, but not at a very fast rate," he said.
Answer by sweet-a-kins at 9:17 PM on Mar. 1, 2010
Buffett gave U.S. President Barack Obama "high marks" for helping the country rebound. Yet he said improved conditions may not make stocks more attractive to investors.
"My enthusiasm for stocks is in direct proportion to how far they go down," he said. "Stocks are a lot less attractive now than they were a year ago."
Answer by sweet-a-kins at 9:18 PM on Mar. 1, 2010
Answer by Anonymous at 9:28 PM on Mar. 1, 2010
Answer by Anonymous at 9:37 PM on Mar. 1, 2010
More affordable YES, there plan now no. I refuse to back a plan I don't see as the best way to go. These are not idiots they know what they're doing and I'm not going to support a plan that I know is not best for everyone.
Is it better than what we got now?
Answer by sweet-a-kins at 9:41 PM on Mar. 1, 2010
Did anyone read the trascripts of the ENTIRE interview? He does NOT agree with the current refrom bill. There was MUCH more to his quote than just, "It's like a tapeworm eating at our economic body,"
The ACTUAL Quote is
BECKY QUICK: Then, are you in favor of scrapping this and going back to start over?
BUFFETT: I would be -- if I were President Obama, I would just show this chart of what's been happening and say this is the tape worm that's eating at American competitiveness, and I would say that one way or another, we're going to attack cost, cost, cost, just like they talk about jobs, jobs, jobs in the economy. It's cost, cost, cost in this side. That's a tough job. We're spending maybe $2.3 trillion on health care in the United States, and every one of those dollars is going to somebody and they're going to yell if that dollar becomes 90 cents or 80 cents. So, it takes -- but I would try to get a unified effort saying this is a national emergency to do something about this.
We need the Republicans, we need the Democrats. We're going to cut off all the kinds of things like the 800,000 special people in Florida or the Cornhusker Kickback, as they called it, or the Louisiana Purchase and we're going to get rid of the nonsense. We're just going to focus on cost and we're not going to dream up 2,000 pages of other things. And I would say as President, I'm going to come back to you with something that's going to do something about this, because we have to do it.
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 10:01 PM on Mar. 1, 2010
but I would try to get a unified effort saying this is a national emergency to do something about this
The problem with this is one side WONT work with the other, AT ALL. The record number of Filibusters is proof of that as is the censuring of member that merely WORK with dems on legislation
Answer by sweet-a-kins at 10:04 PM on Mar. 1, 2010
The problem with this is one side WONT work with the other, AT ALL
You mention NOTHING of the 8+ amendments Republicans have offered since June that Dem leadership wouldn't even allow out of committee or up for debate... How is that bipartisan?
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 10:08 PM on Mar. 1, 2010