CEO's health, wealth insured | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

CEO's health, wealth insured

Posted By on Tue, Apr 18, 2006 at 10:34 AM

All you need to know about our dysfunctional health care system is contained in today's Wall Street Journal article headlined, "As patients, doctors feel pinch, insurer's CEO makes a billion."

It's available to subscribers only, so allow us to excerpt the highlights. After discussing how the CEO of UnitedHealth, William McGuire, is accumulating wealth unrealized by chief executives like Jack Welch, the article continues:

Dr. McGuire's story shows how an elite group of companies is getting rich from the nation's fraying health-care system. 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 middlemen credit themselves with keeping the health system humming and restraining costs. They're bringing in robust profits -- and their executives are among the country's most richly paid -- as doctors, patients, hospitals and even drug makers are feeling a financial squeeze. Some 46 million Americans lack health insurance. ...

The arrival of the $1 billion CEO would be a head-turner in any industry. But it's especially controversial in health care, where "people tend to view each dollar of executive pay as money that isn't spent on them," says Jonathan Weiner, a health-policy expert at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. McGuire and his supporters say the U.S. would be in even worse shape if it weren't for insurers such as UnitedHealth weeding out unnecessary treatments, bargaining with doctors and encouraging patients to seek out the highest-quality care.

Ever since missing a stock-market windfall in the late 1980s, Dr. McGuire has pursued stock-options wealth tirelessly, as an iron-willed leader surrounded by an admiring board. He declined to discuss his pay, but current and former directors talked at length about their desire to do whatever is necessary to keep Dr. McGuire happy.

This is the heralded "administrative efficiency" of private health insurance, which as an industry spends a higher percentage of its revenue on administration than Medicare. Now you know why.

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

More by Warwick Sabin

  • Helena's disappearing buildings

    Preservationists hope to slow demolitions.
    • Mar 22, 2007
  • Trailers headed to Dumas

    Gov. Mike Beebe issued the following statement earlier today: Although this decision by FEMA to deny emergency funds to Desha County defies common sense, Arkansas will take care of its own people.
    • Mar 9, 2007
  • Youth Ranch robbed, vandalized

    According to a press release we just received: The Donald W. Reynolds Campus of the Arkansas Sheriff’s Youth Ranches (The Ranch) located near Fort Smith was vandalized overnight Thursday.  Items stolen during the break-in included all of the children’s saddles, food, tools and supplies from The Ranch’s carpentry shop and all equipment from its auto shop.  An investigation is underway with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
    • Mar 9, 2007
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

Most Viewed

  • Troubles mount for Sen. Jake Files. Maybe others, too

    Sen. Jakes Files has serious problems, based on an FBI affidavit filed Monday in Fort Smith. One new question is how many other legislators have problems based on spending of state surplus money?
  • Artist Dale Chihuly's court battle

    Dale Chihuly, the visionary artist whose work is currently on exhibit at Crystal Bridges, is the subject of a New York Times feature today about an ongoing court battle and the condition of the 75-year-old artist.
  • Confederate memories of a Southern boy

    Confederate memories. How a Son of the South went wrong — or right, depending on your point of view.
  • Another bank acquisition for Arvest

    Arvest Bank, the Walton banking enterprise, is acquiring Bear State Financial, led by Richard Massey, for $391 million, all cash. Bear State, based in Arkansas, has 42 branches and other operations in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation