Warren Buffett Says Single Payer Is the Way to Bring Down Health Care Costs

Warren Buffett, the world’s second richest man, told Judy Woodruff of the PBS NewsHour that single payer is the way to bring down health care costs.

“Are we now at the point where the country does need to think about some sort of single-payer system in some form or another?” Woodruff asked.

“With my limited knowledge, I think that probably is the best system, because it is a system — we are such a rich country,” Buffett said. “In a sense, we can afford to do it.”

“But in almost every field of American business, it pays to bring down costs. There’s an awful lot of people involved in the medical — the whole — just the way the ecosystem works, that there is no incentive to bring down costs.”

And it sounds like you’re saying, with a single-payer system, it would be easier to figure out a way to get those costs down, Woodruff asked.

“It would be more effective, I think,” Buffett said.

“Health care in 1960 was 5 percent of GDP. And there’s only 100 cents in the dollar,” Buffett said. “So, it’s gone from 5 cents — 5 percent to 17 percent. And it keeps going up. Corporate taxes have gone down from 4 percent to 2 percent.”

“So, corporate taxes are way less of a factor in American competitiveness than — I’m talking about overall business — than medical costs.”

“Do you have a firm idea in your mind of what ought to be done about Obamacare?” Woodruff asked.

“I think that’s way outside of my circle of competence,” Buffett said. “But I would say this. You can’t have that 5 go to 17 and move on to 20 and 22 or 24 percent, because there are only 100 cents in a dollar. And health care is gobbling up well over $3 trillion a year. It’s just about the same as federal — the federal budget is getting up there.”