The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Milking health care for all they can take

May 22, 2006

Why are Americans paying so much more for health care and getting so much less? The dollars don’t go to health care. The dollars go to enrich health care companies’ stockholders and management.

Dr. William McGuire, for example, is CEO of UnitedHealth Group, Inc. UnitedHealth is the second-largest managed-care company. It provides an AARP insurance plan. According to Forbes magazine, McGuire’s total “compensation” for 2005 was 125 million dollars! McGuire has also accumulated 1.6 billion dollars’ worth of stock options.

McGuire and UnitedHealth are under SEC investigation for some questionable bookkeeping. But when a finance professor can tell a reporter, “Here’s a guy who did a great job, and just pushed the envelope a little too far,” that speaks volumes about what all the rest of the companies in the health care field are doing or attempting to do. Their goals are to maximize payoff to investors. To do that, they must try to minimize the actual delivery of health care!

Maximizing profit is the standard operating procedure of every industry. When health care is made into an industry, it can only operate accordingly.