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Buffett: Healthcare venture will have CEO 'within the year'

A joint venture between Amazon.com Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. will likely have a top executive by the end of 2018, Berkshire board Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett said Feb. 26.

Speaking on CNBC, Buffett said the three companies are seeking a "top-notch CEO within the year." Together with his counterparts at Amazon and JPMorgan, Buffett said he is looking for an executive who understands the U.S. healthcare industry "from every angle."

Buffett cautioned that the companies have not committed to forming a company, but he conceded that they "probably will."

During the interview, Buffett indicated an interest in reversing the rise of healthcare costs in the U.S. As a percentage of GDP, healthcare costs have gone from about 5% in 1960 to almost 18% in 2018.

In other industrialized countries, healthcare accounts for around 11% of GDP, Buffett said. That gap not only hurts consumers, it also weighs down American companies as they secure healthcare for their employees, he added.

"We've got a huge competitive disadvantage in American businesses," Buffett said on CNBC.

The joint effort between Berkshire, Amazon and JPMorgan will aim to reduce healthcare's percentage of GDP by as much as 4 percentage points, he added.

The three companies first made their cooperation public Jan. 30.