Obscenely High Pay for Health-Care CEOs

Health-Care CEOs Made an Infuriating Amount of Money Last Year – by Luke Darby – Apr 2019

While I know that CEOs are ridiculously overpaid these days, I’m disgusted by the amount of money, much of it from taxpayers, that’s sloshing around in the healthcare industry.

Last year, 62 CEOs of health-care companies made a combined total of $1.1 billion in compensation.

That’s according to a new report out from Axios, which coincidentally notes that CEO compensation eclipses what the Centers for Disease Control spent on chronic disease prevention by $157 million.   

In 2018, each of those executives made an average of nearly $18 million, before taxes at least.  

This clever “diversion” of dollars shows a brazen avarice and lack of shame that would have been labeled as profiteering in the past.

Meanwhile, Americans are borrowing as much as $88 billion annually to pay for medical expenses, which goes a long way toward explaining why an estimated one out of every five Americans is reportedly struggling with either medical bills or debt.

While people struggle to pay for the medical care they receive, most of their hard-earned money is instead “diverted” directly into the coffers of the healthcare industry royalty. 

Most doctors’ private practices have been bought up by huge hospital chains (or other investors), so only a few bits of the astronomical charges trickle down to the medical professionals laboring “in the trenches”. 

One study found that millennials alone made up the largest chunk of people in the U.S. with medical debt, and those numbers are likely to get even worse if the current lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act is upheld in the Supreme Court.

All of this might even be defensible if the health care that Americans were getting was insanely good—if, after all, we were paying more for a demonstrably better system, right? But in 2017, the Commonwealth Fund, a health-care research organization, found that out of 11 wealthy countries surveyed, the U.S. ranked dead last for quality of health care outcome.

We’re paying
more and more money
for worse care and
worse results.

When Bernie Sanders pointed out that it costs 200 times more to have a baby in the U.S. compared to Finland ($12,000 to $60), former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley accused him of wanting to shortchange American women.

Women in the U.S. are more than two times more likely to die of pregnancy complications than women in Finland are.

Bloated executive pay isn’t contained to the health-care industry. Today, the average CEO pay is 312 times the average worker—that’s a stratospheric jump from 1978 when the ratio of CEO compensation was just 30 times a typical worker’s salary.

And unlike the rest of the world, American health care is a money-making industry, where the top metric for success is profit instead of patients.

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