Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

September 21, 2013

Fact Check: Did Buffet turn against Obamacare?

Our rating: Pants on fire

Conservative Internet bloggers are turning up three-year-old quotes from Warren Buffett and casting them as fresh evidence that American support is dwindling for President Barack Obama’s health care law.

But the quotes are 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.

But we started seeing the Buffett quotes in Facebook feeds on the morning of Sept. 17, 2013, 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 on the website includes quotes from Buffett, including:

n “Health care costs in the United States are like a tapeworm eating at our economic body.”

n “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.”

n “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 other conservative media outlets spotlighted the post in the past week as a development in the ongoing battle over the health care law, such as Wall Street Journal blogger James Taranto and Newsbusters.

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