Berkshire Hathaway 2009 Annual Meeting Audience Question # 8

The likelihood of a nationalized health care system

Warren Buffett:

OK, let’s go to zone 4.

Audience Member:

Hi, Mr. Buffett, Mr. Munger. My name is Vern Cushenbery. I’m from Overland Park, Kansas.

I wonder if you might share your thoughts on the likelihood of a nationalized health care system, what that might look like and the effects on your portfolio?

Warren Buffett:

Well, I’m going to let Charlie answer that one since I don’t know how to.

Charlie Munger:

Personally, I think something more like Europe will come to the United States in due course. And I think it’ll be supplemented by a private system, which is the equivalent of private school competition for public education.

And, although I’m a Republican, I’m not horrified by that probable development. Personally, I wish they’d put it off for a year while we solve the economic problems.

Warren Buffett:

And I would say that in terms of its impact on Berkshire, you know, we have a broad cross section of companies… we have 246,000 people working for us… that we will adjust, like American business generally will adjust, to any developments along that line.

It won’t pose special problems for us. It won’t offer us special opportunities. We’ll see what the national sentiment is, as expressed through Congress. And we’ll behave accordingly.

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