John Hempton of Bronte Capital lives in Australia, which has universal health insurance coverage. Mr. Hempton writes, commenting on Warren Buffett's recent remarks on health care: "Anyone who tells you that you can have universal coverage without some queue rationing is lying. A decent part of the system however is working out what procedures must take place quickly and what procedures can safely wait a while. In Australia some people are in pain whilst on waiting lists. ...I doubt Buffett – as the world's second richest man – would find queue rationing acceptable for himself – but that discussion never came up. If you want to accuse him of hypocrisy go ahead. When my wife damaged her knee in a skiing accident we queue jumped using supplementary private health insurance. So accuse me of hypocrisy too. Buffett obviously knows that a system that radically cuts costs but has the government meet some of those costs will necessarily involve rationing. He is not a fool. He just never said how the rationing should take place – preferring to leave that discussion to experts. That way though he could sound reasonable and friendly whilst proposing reforms that will radically reduce some peoples' incomes and somewhat limit access to medical care. And that I guess is Warren Buffett to a tee. He sounds all genial – but underneath is one of the most hard-headed men you will ever come across." Exactly.
John Hempton on Buffett and Health Care