Peter Kinder needs to start getting his news from... news sources. This afternoon, Kinder tweeted that Warren Buffett has called the compromise federal health care legislation "2,000 pages of nonsense."
Kinder's tweet is misleading in several ways. First and foremost: Buffett didn't say what Kinder is telling his followers he said. Second, while Buffett is critical of the current legislation because he thinks it doesn't do enough to reign in costs, Buffett says he "would vote for the Senate bill" rather than do nothing. And third, Buffett is actually calling for more aggressive health care legislation -- something Kinder most certainly does not want.
In the same interview misquoted by Kinder, Buffett said "I would vote for the Senate bill":
No, if it was a choice today between plan A, which is what we've got [i.e., the status quo], or plan B, what is in front of--the Senate bill, I would vote for the Senate bill. But I would much rather see a plan C that really attacks costs.
The quote Kinder has made up is in fact composed of words Buffett used on CNBC this week. But his tweet is just false. I've highlighted the words Kinder used so you can see the silliness of Kinder's quote.
WARREN BUFFETT: We have a health system that, in terms of cost, 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. Unfortunately, we came up with a bill that really doesn't attack the cost situation that much and we have to have a fundamental change. We have to have something that will end the constant increase in medical cost as a percentage of GDP.
BECKY QUICK: Then, are you in favor of scrapping this and going back to start over?
BUFFETT: I would be -- if I were President Obama, I would just show this chart of what's been happening and say this is the tape worm that's eating at American competitiveness, and I would say that one way or another, we're going to attack cost, cost, cost, just like they talk about jobs, jobs, jobs in the economy. It's cost, cost, cost in this side. That's a tough job. We're spending maybe $2.3 trillion on health care in the United States, and every one of those dollars is going to somebody and they're going to yell if that dollar becomes 90 cents or 80 cents. So, it takes -- but I would try to get a unified effort saying this is a national emergency to do something about this. We need the Republicans, we need the Democrats. We're going to cut off all the kinds of things like the 800,000 special people in Florida or the Cornhusker Kickback, as they called it, or the Louisiana Purchase and we're going to get rid of the nonsense. We're just going to focus on cost and we're not going to dream up 2,000 pages of other things. And I would say as President, I'm going to come back to you with something that's going to do something about this, because we have to do it.
QUICK: Just focus on cost or focus on cost while insuring more people?
BUFFETT: Well, yeah --
QUICK: Is there two different problems?
BUFFETT: Universality -- yeah, I believe in insuring more people, but I don't believe in insuring more people until you attack the cost aspect of this.