The current healthcare system is like “an economic tapeworm” eating away at the U.S. economy, Billionaire Warren Buffett said Monday in an interview on CNBC.
“What we have now is untenable over time,” He said, citing that the cost of U.S. healthcare has jumped from 5 percent of the country’s GDP to 17 percent of GDP. Most other developed countries maintain healthcare systems that cost about 10 percent of GDP, he said.
“If you want to get the very best; you want to spend a million dollars to prolong your life another three months… you can probably do it better here in the United States than any place else,” Buffet said. But, “We have a healthcare system that, in terms of cost, is really out of control, and if you take this line and project what has been happening into the future, we will get less and less competitive,” Buffet said.
Buffett said he thought the proposed healthcare bill does not do enough to address the cost situation.
“We need something that will end the constant increase in medical cost as a percentage of GDP,” Buffett said.
When asked if President Obama should scrap the current healthcare bill and start over, Buffet responded:
“If I were President Obama, I would just show this chart of what’s been happening and say, ‘this is the tapeworm 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…
“I would try to get a unified effort and say, ‘This is a national emergency to do something about this – we need the Republicans; we need the Democrats… We’re going to get rid of the nonsense and we’re just going to focus on cost, and we’re not going to dream up 2,000 pages on other things…’
“I believe in insuring more people, but I don’t believe in insuring more people until you attack the cost aspect of this… And I admire people for tackling it because it’s so tough politically. But I’d really like to see [Obama] get the job done.”
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