Friday, March 19, 2010

Health Care Executive Salaries

by Pa Rock
Health Care Consumer

I've harped on this before, but it bears repeating - especially given the fact that Congress will hopefully act on the comprehensive health care bill this weekend. The salaries of health care executives in America are an abomination!

The costs of insurance aren't going up due to market forces or the price of health care itself. Indeed, insurers are often the ones who actually determine the cost of health care based on what they are willing to pay for specific procedures and treatments. The costs of health insurance go up primarily due to one factor: greed!

Health insurance companies have raised their rates to accumulate cash and improve value for their stockholders. They have raised rates to accumulate cash to gobble up smaller insurance companies, or invest in other sectors of the health care economy, or invest in enterprises totally unrelated to health care. And health insurance companies have engaged in predatory rate increases so that they can lavish wealth and luxury on their board members and executives! These companies are leaches on society that drive sick people from their rolls, overcharge those who remain, and routinely rob the poor and give to the rich.

What follows is relatively current information. The source is Fortune Magazine.

The highest paid health care executive in America is Ronald A Williams, the CEO of Aetna. Mr. Williams brings down a shameful $38.12 million per year! For those unable to grasp the enormity of that amount, like me, it comes to approximately $98,958.90 per day! That's right. Ronald Williams is just pocket change (for him) away from making a hundred grand a day! What in the hell does Ronnie do to earn a hundred grand a day? That's not capitalism - that's just thievery, plain and simple!

But there is more than one show hog at Aetna. Of the fifteen most overpaid health care executives in America, Aetna has two. The other is the company's Chief Financial Officer, Joseph Zubretsky, who comes in at number six and makes a healthy $5.57 million per year ($15,260.27 per day.)

Wouldn't it be great to open the old pay envelope every two weeks and feel like you had won the lottery? Damn skippy!

The following individuals flesh out the list of egregiously overpaid health care executives;

#2 Edward Hanway, CEO of Cigna - $10.27 million per year.
#3 Michael Neidorff, CEO of Centene - $8.77 million.
#4 Heath Schiesser, CEO of WellCare - $8.1 million.
#5 George Mikan, III, CEO of UnitedHealth - $6.531 million.
#7 James Carlson, CEO of Amerigroup - $5.29 million.
#8 Stephen Hemsley, CEO of United Health Group - 5.03 million.
#9 Michael McCallister, CEO of Humana - 4.76 million.
#10 Angela Braly, CEO of WellPoint (the bastards who are currently raping California with hideous rate increases) - $4.07 million.
#11 Richard Barasch, CEO of Universal American - $3.5 million.
#12 Allen Wise, CEO of Coventry Health Care - $2.6 million.
#13 J. Mario Molina, CEO of Molina Health Care - $2.2 million.
#14 Jay Gellert, CEO of Health Net - $1.34 million.
#15 Herbert Fritch, CEO of Health Spring - $800,000.

Now, before anyone goes out and starts organizing a bake sale to supplement poor Herb Fritch's salary, realize that as poor as his salary sounds (compared to the other fourteen), it is still double what the President of the United States makes in a year - and the President has a real job!

If the teabaggers had a lick of sense, which they obviously do not, they would be out protesting these ridiculous salaries and carrying their goofy signs and guns to the annual stockholders' meetings of these questionably legal enterprises.

The problem is not the doctors. The problem is not the price of health care or the free market system. The problem is not Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid, or Barack H. Obama. The problem is these 21st century robber barons and the members Congress who carry their water for sleazy campaign donations, nice vacations, and other under-the-table favors. And right now the problem is specifically the Republican members of Congress who march in lock-step like so many goose-stepping Nazi's and refuse to open their minds to even a smidgen of rational thought.

The problem is ignorance.

The problem is immoral behavior.

The problem is greed.


Mike Box said...

The question well may be: "How much too much?".

That's because the obvious flip side to the minimum wage coin is how much should be allowed in payment for a maximum wage.

Will we express the maximum wage as an absolute value in dollars or as a percentage of profit? Will we demand less wage in the face of loss? Wall Street bankers took bonuses after posting losses.

The incentives to not paying the all but confiscatory tax on obscene wages (including bonuses) are investments in higher wages and better benefits for employees, investments in capital infrastructure and or capital goods and equipment, or lowering the prices paid by consumers for goods and services.

The top 1% of American families control between 40% and 50% of the nation's wealth.

How do we pay for health care reform? We use the Tax Code to break up that unequal distribution of wealth.

Ronald Regan got it wrong. Wealth does not trickle down. Wealth is horded by the wealthy with little or no regard for anyone else.

As long as the Tax Code favors the rich over the balance of the population it will be difficult to ease the burden on the common family.

Warren Buffett, one of America's richest persons pays less in income tax than does his secretary. He obviously makes a lot more money. The concept of taxing the rich is not to assault the wealthy, it is to level the playing field and make all members of society do their fair share.

The downside to a maximum wage is that Molly Files' blog on freebiejeebies would be less vital to so many readers. I bet your favorite daughter would make that sacrifice.

Anonymous said...


Mike Box said...

This is interesting. The Chinese text from the comments was


which translates from Simplified Chinese to "We must keep a high is best towards that fuel. ! ! Looking forward to your table again in the new article."

From Traditional Chinese it goes like: "must remain in the best toward situation, come on! ! ! expect you to issue the new articles."

Either way your friend wants you to write more.

Pa Rock's Ramble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pa Rock's Ramble said...

I agree with Mike's comments that rewriting the tax code to eliminate privilege for the privileged would be the appropriate place to start in making life fair in America. But my baser instincts favor a good caning first!

Pa Rock's Ramble said...

BTW, The deleted comment above was one that I posted that had a grammatical issue.