Saturday, August 08, 2009

Health Care Reform in the face of "Gouging" excessive Salaries

There is a simple answer to the far right's new favorite chant against health care reform — "What's Wrong With Profit?". Nothing. There is nothing inherently wrong with making a profit. But their question misses a point.

Profit, for a while now, hasn't been a problem for the health insurance industry. During the 20 years or so between our attempts at reforming health care, the industry's done quite well. CEOs like United Health's Stephen Hemsley — with $13.2 million in earnings from 2007, and stock options totalling three quarters of a billion dollars — have done quite well. He's in good company.
In the same year, the CEOs of the top seven for-profit insurers averaged $14.2 million in compensation. According to one report, the industry's profits were $65 billion in 2007, down from $67.6 billion in 2006, but well above $48.8 billion in 2005. In 2003, they doubled their profits from 2002.

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