Saturday, December 16, 2017
Politics

PolitiFact: Debunking bloggers who say Warren Buffett recently turned against Obamacare

The statement

Warren Buffett recently said "Scrap Obamacare and Start All Over."

Bloggers, Sept. 13 in posts

The ruling

Conservative Internet bloggers recently turned up three-year-old quotes from Warren Buffett and cast them as fresh evidence that American support is dwindling for President Barack Obama's health care law.

But the quotes were not properly identified as three years old and do not reflect Buffett's full thinking on the health care law.

It's unclear why or how the old quotes resurfaced.

We started seeing them in Facebook feeds after the Weekly Standard linked to it, starting its blog post, "You know things are bad for President Obama when even Warren Buffett has soured on Obamacare and says that 'we need something else.' "

The link went to a website called Money Morning, which posted an entry on Sept. 13 titled, "Buffett: Scrap Obamacare and Start All Over."

The post includes quotes from Buffett:

• "Health care costs in the United States are like a tapeworm eating at our economic body."

• "We have a health system that, in terms of costs, is really out of control. And if you take this line and you project what has been happening into the future, we will get less and less competitive. So we need something else."

• "Attack the costs first, and then worry about expanding coverage. I would much rather see another plan that really attacks costs. And I think that's what the American public wants to see. I mean, the American public is not behind this bill."

The post goes on to paraphrase Buffett as saying he would scrap Obamacare and start over.

A variety of conservative media outlets spotlighted the post, such as Wall Street Journal blogger James Taranto and Newsbusters.

But the comments come from an interview that Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., gave to CNBC on March 1, 2010 — 3½ years ago, before the bill was signed.

Buffett's office told PolitiFact that the blog reports do not reflect his views. Buffett "has never said or thought that Obamacare should be scrapped," said Debbie Bosanek, Buffett's assistant. She said she showed him our research and that he said our analysis "covered it very well."

It's worth noting that in July 2012, just after the Supreme Court upheld the health care law, Buffett told Bloomberg TV that the court made the right call.

The notion that Buffett had recently turned on a president he supported by souring on his signature health care law could have been easily debunked using Google searches.

We rate the claim Pants on Fire.

Becky Bowers and Louis Jacobson, Times Staff Writers Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

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