Warren Buffett: Joint health venture will 'check the tapeworm of costs'

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Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, spoke to CNN's Poppy Harlow about what he wants his joint health venture to accomplish and whether a single-payer system may be the answer to the country's healthcare woes.

Mr. Buffett spoke to Ms. Harlow during a charity lunch hosted by Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in New York City about the process of hiring Atul Gawande, MD, as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway's joint health venture with Amazon and JPMorgan Chase. He said that every candidate interviewed for the position acknowledged the U.S. healthcare system needed to change, but that the solution didn't involve them.

"When we were interviewing people to be in charge, everybody agrees that there's a better system out there. But they just don't think it involves them. They're not the problem," he said, acknowledging it's "human nature" to think that way.

While he did not reveal much detail about the joint venture's plans, Mr. Buffett reiterated the ultimate goal is to reduce the "tapeworm of costs" plaguing the industry.

"At the very least, we've got to figure out a way to check that. Preferably reduce it a little bit, getting closer to other countries, and have a better outcome for people. That's a very, very tough one," he said.

Mr. Buffett also provided his thoughts on whether a single-payer health system may be part of the solution, stating it "may be the answer," but that it is ultimately up to voters to decide.

"I would like to see obviously the private sector arrive at something that gets the cost-benefits of that, and eliminates some of the downsides of it," he said.

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