Warren Buffett speaks out on Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase and Amazon healthcare merger: 'You would not bet on us'

The Berkshire Hathaway 2018 Annual Shareholders Meeting was well underway on Saturday afternoon, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger answered questions on everything from the U.S. and China trade war to company ethics.

In January, Berkshire Hathaway, JP Morgan Chase and Amazon announced that they would form an independent health care company for their employees in the U.S.

The healthcare industry is one that the three business giants have not previously tapped into, and a question was posed surrounding whether or not Buffett and his counterparts would be able to invest time and resources into a business that they objectively did not understand, based on lack of in-depth experience.

Buffett was quick to explain the fundamental objective of the new mega-company:

“We don’t plan to start healthcare companies … we simply have three organizations with leaders that I admire and trust … we hope to do something (which Charlie [Munger] would say is ‘almost impossible’) to change, in some way, a system which was taking five percent of the GDP in 1960 and now is taking close to 18 percent … whether we can find the chief executives … and whether that person will have the imagination and support of people that will enable us to make any kind of significant approvals in the system which is … kind of out of control on costs.”

Buffett’s goal isn’t to monopolize the entire health care industry (though he very well could), but rather to carve out an accessible space in a seemingly untouchable industry for the over one million employees working for the three companies:

“The motivation is not profit-making … we want our employees to get better medical service at a better cost … we do think that there may be ways to make real significant changes … and we know that the business will be unbelievable, and if we fail, then at least we tried. But the idea is not that ‘I’ will be able to contribute to any breakthrough moment … the idea is maybe the three organizations which employ over one million people … whether we can bring the resources, bring the person (and the CEO is terribly important), bring the person, support that person and somehow figure out a better way for people to continually seek out better medical care in the United States.

You would not bet on us, but I think there is some chance (that no one can quantify) that we can do something significant and we are positioned better than most people to try, and we’ve certainly got the right partners. So we will give it a shot and see what happens.”

Charlie Munger also offered a comparison between Buffett and John D. Rockefeller (who completely disrupted the healthcare industry using his own capital) joking that "Warren having imitated Rockefeller in one way is just trying another, and maybe it will work!"

Buffett concluded that “[Berkshire, JPMorgan Chase and Amazon is] making a lot of progress and I think we’ll probably have the CEO ... within a couple of months” but was quick to remind the masses that “If it was easy, it would’ve already been done … but it should be tried.”