Saturday, April 29, 2006

It's not just the oil companies.

So you didn't want universal health care in this country. You actually believed the right wing, big business propaganda that the government can't provide health care coverage as well as private interests.

Hope you plan on staying healthy.

Here's a story about a CEO of a HMO. He quit being a doctor in 1986 to go to work for UnitedHealth Group Inc..
He's now worth over a billion bucks. A real American success story. That billion bucks used to be yours.

The story, datelined Minnetonka, Minn., was about William McGuire, a doctor
who stopped practicing in 1986 to take a management job with UnitedHealth Group
Inc., one of the largest HMOs in the country.

He's now the chief executive officer of the corporation, makes $8 million a
year in salary plus bonus, has personal use of the company's private jet and has
amassed what the Journal describes as "one of the largest stock options fortunes
of all time."

According to the newspaper, those options total $1.6 billion.

"Even celebrated CEOs such as General Electric Co.'s Jack Welch or
International Business Machines Corp.'s Louis Gerstner never were granted so
much during their time at the top," the WSJ story said.

But the gist of the story is that while McGuire and other UnitedHealth
execs are raking in millions, their company is putting the squeeze on everyone

"Dr. McGuire's story shows how an elite group of companies is getting rich
from the nation's fraying health care system," the bible of the business world
reported. "Many of them aren't discovering drugs or treating patients. They're
middlemen who process the paperwork, fill the pill bottles and otherwise connect
the pieces of a $2 trillion industry."

The newspaper's research shows that UnitedHealth has particularly benefited
in recent years as health care inflation eased somewhat.

Insurers still raised premiums at double-digit rates. At UnitedHealth, for
example, its stock price tripled from January of 2003 to January of this year
and its net income rose to $3.3 billion. Hence, the nice
board-of-director-approved windfall for McGuire. (Interestingly, former
UW-Madison Chancellor Donna Shalala is a member of UnitedHealth's board.)
On one hand we have Medicare, which provides universal single-payer coverage to
all Americans over age 65 at about a 2 percent administrative cost. On the other
hand we have a hodge-podge of plans with layer after administrative layer that
gobbles up close to 20 percent in overhead costs (Dr. McGuire's just a piece of
that) and leaves millions out in the cold.

Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)