Buffett's partner once gave $20,000 to doctor picked to lead Berkshire, Amazon, JP Morgan venture

  • Dr. Atul Gawande was once given $20,000 by Warren Buffett's longtime investing partner Charlie Munger.
  • Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, made that revelation on CNBC back in 2010.
  • At the time, Buffett said Munger wrote a check after Gawande published an article in The New Yorker on high U.S. medical costs.

Dr. Atul Gawande, the newly selected CEO of the Amazon, J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway joint health-care venture, was once given $20,000 by Warren Buffett's longtime investing partner Charlie Munger.

Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, made that revelation on CNBC's "Squawk Box" back in 2010.

At the time, Buffett said that Munger wrote a check after Gawande published an article in The New Yorker on high U.S. medical costs.

"[Munger] never met him, never had any correspondence with it," Buffett told CNBC's Becky Quick in March 2010. "[Munger] just mailed it to The New Yorker and he said, `This article is so useful socially,' he says, 'Just give this as a gift to the — to Dr. Gawande.'"

The article that caught Munger's eye was a 2009 story, "The Cost Conundrum."

Gawande, who has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998, explored why two different towns in Texas that had similar demographics had huge variances in their health-care spending. He found the primary cause for the extreme costs in one town was "across-the-board overuse of medicine."

"Americans like to believe that, with most things, more is better. But research suggests that where medicine is concerned it may actually be worse," Gawande wrote in The New Yorker article.

"Spending on doctors, hospitals, drugs, and the like now consumes more than one of every six dollars we earn." He continued, "The financial burden has damaged the global competitiveness of American businesses and bankrupted millions of families, even those with insurance."

According to the Huffington Post, Gawande did not take the money from Munger and instead accepted it as a donation to the Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he practices as a surgeon.

CNBC has reached out to Gawande for comment.

Gawande will officially begin in his new role with the Amazon, J.P. Morgan and Berkshire venture next month, the three companies announced on Wednesday.

He will not give up his positions at Harvard or Brigham and Women's Hospital and will keep writing, including for The New Yorker.