Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger says single payer healthcare will come when Democrats take control

Financial Markets Reporter
Yahoo Finance
Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc arrives at the company’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 5, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc arrives at the company’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 5, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Berkshire HathawayVice Chairman Charlie Munger says he expects to see single-payer healthcare in the United States, just as soon as the Democrats take both houses of Congress and the White House.

During a question-and-answer session with attendees at the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting, Munger took an opportunity to slip in his prediction in response to a query about the Berkshire-Amazon-JPMorgan enterprise that is intended to provide healthcare to its 840,000 employees.

“I suspect that eventually when Democrats control both houses of Congress and the White House that we will get single payer medical care and I don’t think it’ll be much more friendly than any of the PBMs,” Munger said.

PBMs are Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or companies that administer prescription drug plans for more than 266 million Americans who have health insurance from a variety of sponsors.

The American Pharmacists Association describes PBMs as a third-party administrator of prescription drug programs. PBMs are primarily responsible for developing and maintaining the formulary, contracting with pharmacies, negotiating discounts and rebates with drug manufacturers, and processing and paying prescription drug claims.

If the United States were to turn toward a single-payer system it would mean that the government would provide healthcare for citizens rather than them buying individual insurance plans through private companies as they do now.

That would likely leave many health insurance companies as well as pharmacy benefit managers out in the cold, a fate Munger seemed less than heartbroken to see.

“I won’t miss them,” he said of the PBMs.

Berkshire is working to change the way its employees get healthcare through a partnership with Amazon and JPMorgan announced earlier this year. The companies say they are seeking to find solutions that enhance care for the more than 800,000 people they collectively employ.

Dion Rabouin is a markets reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter: @DionRabouin.

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