Warren Buffett On CNBC: Health Care Is Like An 'Economic Tape Worm' (WATCH)

05/01/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

OMAHA, Neb. -- (BY JOSH FUNK, AP) Billionaire Warren Buffett says health care costs are a major drain on U.S. businesses and act like an "economic tape worm."

The head of the holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said Monday on CNBC that America's health care system needs fundamental reform to attack costs because it's not practical to continue devoting roughly 17 percent of the nation's gross domestic product to health care.

Buffett says much of the rest of the world is paying about 9 percent of their GDP on health care and have more doctors and nurses per person.

He says he hopes Congress will develop a new health care reform proposal that will restrict costs more than any of the current plans would.

WATCH Warren Buffet talk health care On CNBC:


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THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Billionaire Warren Buffett says the economy is improving but at a very slow rate and consumers are still not spending much.

Buffett appeared on CNBC Monday morning, two days after releasing his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

Buffett says the reports he receives from Berkshire's 80 subsidiaries don't show much improvement. And most of Berkshire's businesses are still performing worse than they were two years ago before the height of the crisis.

Berkshire owns clothing, furniture, jewelry and corporate jet firms, but its insurance and utility businesses accounted for one-third of the company's profit last year. It's net income jumped 61 percent in 2009 to $8.1 billion largely because the value of its investments and derivatives rose sharply.


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