Thursday, December 15, 2011

Healthcare CEOs Replace Bankers as America's Highest Paid

image: I want you to know...what a greedy SOB Aetna's CEO is.

I've asserted on these pages before that Obamacare was nothing more than a huge corporate welfare giveaway that did nothing to help reign in health care costs or ensure all Americans have adequate access to affordable medical care. The evidence against Obama's colossal boondoggle just keeps building up:
Pity Wall Street's bankers. Once the highest-paid bosses in the land, they are now also-rans. The real money is in healthcare and drugs, according to the latest survey of executive pay.

There are no bankers in the top 10 of this year's GMI survey of CEO pay. In fact, they have been out since 2007, when Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein competed for the top slot with Richard Fuld, boss of soon-to-be-bust Lehman Brothers, and Angelo Morzillo, head of Countrywide, once the largest sub-prime home loan firm.

With the bankers still recovering from their tussle with hubris, old age and infirmity were 2010's boom businesses – at least in terms of pay. Leading the pack was John Hammergren, chief executive of McKesson Corporation. The firm's 52-year-old chairman, chief executive and president took home $145,266,971 in 2010.

McKeeson is probably the biggest company you've never heard of. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company is the largest pharmaceutical distributor in North America, distributing a third of the medicines used in the US. McKeeson's sales topped $112bn last year.

Hammergren's next closest rival was Joel Gemunder, outgoing boss of Omnicare, where he had been president since 1981. Omnicare is a pharmacy company that dispenses drugs in nursing homes – among other services – and had sales of $6.15bn last year. When Gemunder started at the firm it had sales of $150m. His 2010 total pay package was worth $98,283,242.
I think from the statistics above we have pinpointed a very big reason why health care costs are exploding in this country. We couldn't possibly deprive these scumbag CEOs of their solid gold back scratchers, you know. And yet when was the last time you ever heard a conservative opponent of national health care address the insane compensation going to industry CEOs?

The apologists for corporate America, of course, always insist that CEO compensation is fair because of the value they bring to their companies. A notion that yet again has been proven to be absolute bullshit:
Ronald Williams, boss of health insurance giant Aetna, made $57,787,786 in 2010. Another recipient of a golden goodbye, Williams made $50.4m on his stock options last year. Williams is one of the US's most prominent African American business leaders, and has campaigned against healthcare reforms that would have introduced a government-backed public insurance option to compete with private insurers. Since he became CEO, Aetna's stock price declined by 70%.
Wow, greedy and incompetent...and laughing all the way to the bank. Thank goodness we've warded off the "evils" of socialized medicine. Otherwise, some of these assholes might actually have to do real work for a living.


  1. Once upon a time, just before I got into I.T. at IBM, I worked for Aetna. Back then it was still known as Aetna/US Healthcare due to their recent merger back in the mid/late 90's. It's one of only two jobs I ever just up and walked out of in the middle of my shift. I lasted there for a year and a half which was extraordinary at the time what with their 85%+ turnover rate in the department I worked in (claims and appeals). There are real and true HORROR stories I could tell you about what went on there. I'll sum it up this way - they would take the last dollar out of a dying child's pocket while wearing a smile on their evil faces.

  2. don't forget the guy that collected 51 million in options paid 15% taxes

  3. @nathan - I do forget the guy who collected $1 million. I don't give a damn about him at all. Or his money.

    What I'll never forget is the 9 year-old girl who had an unusual condition. Her doctor called in time and again. The little girl NEEDED massage therapy IAW her diagnosis. A last-ditch effort before they were to CUT HER ARM OFF. As usual, when the 'provider' (doctor or staff) called in, the treatment was automatically denied. "Massage treatment?" DENIED!. Aetna wouldn't even trouble themselves to look up the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment. Well I did bother myself to look it up. The treatment was explicitly warranted. So after months of bs paperwork, I can only hope that she still has her arm. If it's the last thing I ever did at that shithole company, I hope she kept her arm because I did the right thing. I know I surrendered, I gave up in the end and walked out. I couldn't take it any more. A year later, at 'Redline Computers' in Minneapolis (long defunct) I ran into a former co-worker of mine. I asked him, 'How do you continue to do it?'. He said, 'I pretend I'm a robot, it's the only way I could keep this job'.

  4. @Daniel - good for you. That's such an awful story, but so typical of a system that makes a commodity out of what ought to be a basic human right.

  5. @Bill - No, it's not good for me or anyone else. That happened over a decade ago and the insurance companies haven't relented, not one bit. IT IS STILL NOT OKAY.