When it comes to investing, nobody gets more respect for rooting out value than Warren Buffett and his sidekick Charlie Munger at Berkshire Hathaway.
Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for The New Yorker
Atul Gawande speaks at the 2009 New Yorker Festival.
Atul Gawande speaks at the 2009 New Yorker Festival. Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for The New Yorker
But what do they know about health care? Well, it costs too much in this country. During a wide-ranging appearance on cable channel CNBC yesterday, Buffett called the U.S. health system a "tapeworm that's eating at our economic competitiveness." His prescription? Attack the cost problem.
Buffett would prefer the president start from scratch on overhaul to emphasize cost containment. Failing that, he supports the Senate's approach.
To us, though, the most interesting health tidbit came when Buffett said Munger cut a $20,000 check to Harvard surgeon Atul Gawande after reading his New Yorker piece on variation in health costs.
Buffet said Munger's "never met him" but sent the unsolicited check, care of the New Yorker, because the the article was "so useful socially."
Ira Stoll over at the Future of Capitalism wondered if the check got to Gawande. Yep.
In an email to Stoll, Gawande called the check "a flattering gesture." Gawande donated the money to Brigham and Women's Hospital's Center for Surgery and Public Health for use on a project that's bringing oxygen monitors to "low-income countries without access to this basic medical equipment to reduce avoidable deaths."