Rationing healthcare sure is lucrative!

There are a million good reasons for single-payer basic healthcare in America: fairness/morality, children’s health, healthier populace, fewer sick days, higher productivity, massive reduction in paperwork, saving the millions of trees felled to print out that paperwork, etc.

One of the strongest reasons for single-payer basic healthcare is the incredible cost savings. An entire health insurance industry exists to screen out high-risk people and deny them coverage or find excuses to not pay for their treatment (even if they’ve been insured for many years).

Here’s a good symbol of that waste: massive compensation packages for CEOs of these mostly (see below) unnecessary health insurance companies:

Ron Williams (Aetna): “Williams earned $24,300,112 in total compensation for 2008”

H. Edward Hanway (CIGNA): “Total Compensation: $12,236,740”

Stephen Hemsley (UnitedHealth Group): “Total Compensation: $3,241,042”

Dale Wolf (Coventry Health Care): “Total Compensation: $9,047,469”

Angela Braly (WellPoint): “Braly… earned more money in 2008 ($9,844,212) than in 2007 (9,094,271)”

Michael Neidorff (Centene): “Total Compensation: $8,774,483”

James Carlson (AMERIGROUP): “Total Compensation: $5,292,546”

Of course, these salaries pale in comparison with former UnitedHealth CEO Bill McGuire who received stock options worth at least $1.6 billion.

These health insurance companies do serve a useful purpose when they provide high-end medical insurance. But basic healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. And these firms — with their powerful lobbyists and massive campaign contributions — have blocked 48 million Americans from receiving even basic healthcare.

These CEOs should be ashamed to receive $9 million/year while bribing Congress and presidential candidates to keep basic healthcare a privilege rather than a right.

Posted by James on Thursday, May 21, 2009