Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Health Care Honey Pot


Why the Nation Doesn't Need Massachusetts Health Care

Massachusetts Health Care Takes a Seat on the S***ter

"Blue Cross CEO's pay rose 26%; Salary, bonus totaled $3.5m as insurer's net income slid 49%" by Jeffrey Krasner, Globe Staff | February 28, 2009

The salary and bonus paid to Cleve L. Killingsworth, chairman and chief executive of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, increased 26 percent last year, to $3.5 million, even though the health insurer's membership declined and its net income fell....

Killingsworth's total pay package was likely about $4.3 million, making him by far the highest paid healthcare executive in Massachusetts. The jump came during a tough year in which Blue Cross-Blue Shield's business was affected by the stock market decline, the recession, and the increasing cost of medical care....

Chief financial officer Allen Maltz.... said Blue Cross-Blue Shield aims for a profit margin of between 1.5 and 2 percent. Last year's margin was almost zero....

ALMOST, but NOT QUITE, huh? They STILL PROFITED? Did YOU do AS WELL this year, readers? Maybe Clevie could give back some of that bonus, huh?

Like most health insurers, Blue Cross-Blue Shield also relies on investment income, which fell 28 percent to $111 million. Maltz said the firm managed to avoid losses in the market by investing primarily in bonds and avoiding derivative securities that have declined precipitously in value.

Isn't it nice to know that YOUR HEALTH CARE DOLLAR goes to WALL STREET, not CARE, America?

Swapping Partners Good For Health

"We made money in one of the toughest economic environments in the last 75 years," he said.... Salaries at Blue Cross-Blue Shield were inflated by a complex executive bonus plan in which senior officials get bonuses based on a rolling average of the previous three years.

Yes, LOOTING needs to be COMPLEX so you DON'T GET CAUGHT

"These executives and the company performed and exceeded our expectations," said Jay McQuaide, a Blue Cross-Blue Shield spokesman. "They earned these incentives." The key metrics in the incentive plan are membership and net profit, he said.

And THAT RIGHT THERE is why America;s health care system sucks!!!!!

The insurer's board members also received a 33 percent increase in base pay, from $30,000 a year to $40,000. Most earn far more because of payments for attending meetings and serving on committees....

Can I get $10,000 dollars for attending a meeting? I'll attend an AA meeting if that will get me the 10 grand.


At Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, the state's second-largest health plan, chief executive Charles D. Baker's total compensation, including retirement benefits, rose 24.5 percent to $1.7 million. Net income for 2008 increased to $48.1 million from $45.6 million in the previous year, and membership grew 38,000 to 1.07 million.

"We did a great job of managing expenses," said James DuCharme, chief financial officer, in a statement. "Our overall administrative spending in 2008 was $15 million lower than it was in 2007."

Tufts Health Plan earned net income of $18.8 million in 2008 despite suffering investment losses of $6.2 million in 2008....

"During such a challenging period, we are pleased to end the year with a positive net income," said Umesh Kurpad, chief financial officer, in a statement.

Chief executive James Roosevelt Jr. earned compensation of $1.06 million, excluding contributions to an executive savings plan....

WTF? This economy took a dump this last year but all these HMO's made a pretty health profit, huh?

The state's health plans are among the best nationwide, as ranked by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, a respected nonprofit. Harvard Pilgrim has been ranked best commercial health plan in the nation for four consecutive years. Tufts' plans, excluding its Medicare Advantage plan for seniors, were ranked second nationally last year, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts ranked ninth.

That just tells you HOW BAD our health care system is in this country!


At least there are the blessed non-profits, 'eh?

"Nonprofit hospitals targeted on leader pay; Boards must hold line, senator says" by Lisa Wangsness, Globe Staff | March 4, 2009

WASHINGTON - .... Nonprofit hospital presidents earned nearly $500,000 a year on average in salary and other benefits, according to a recent IRS survey of 485 hospitals, and a smaller group more closely reviewed by the IRS had an average salary of $1.4 million. In Boston, home to some of the country's most prominent nonprofit teaching hospitals, executive pay at brand-name institutions typically tops $1 million....

I just can't believe in anything or anyone anymore: Animal Cruelty of the Worst Sort

Under current IRS rules, the burden is on the agency to prove a salary is excessive.... But Lynn Nicholas, CEO of the Massachusetts Hospital Association, said most hospital boards already follow a thoughtful and transparent process to determine executive compensation. They need to compete to keep talented leaders with the skills required to deal with community concerns, government regulations, and complicated payment relationships with doctors, she said....


Peter Slavin earned nearly $1.2 million in salary, deferred compensation, and benefits as president of Massachusetts General Hospital in the year that ended Sept. 30, 2007, the most recent figure available, an 11.6 percent increase from the previous year.

Officials at Mass. General were not available for comment yesterday, but officials at Partners HealthCare System, the nonprofit that includes Mass. General, have said salaries increased to keep pace with pay for senior executives at smaller hospitals in the Boston area.


Related: Why the Nation Doesn't Need Massachusetts Health Care

"The salaries of high-performing healthcare executives in large institutions pale - all caps, bold - pale in comparison to the kinds of salaries these Wall Street tycoons are pulling down," Nicholas said.



Yup, I'M NOT as BAD as the OTHER GUY!!!!

Congress and President Obama have targeted criticism and pay restrictions to the CEOs of Wall Street firms, automakers, and others receiving federal help. Nonprofit hospitals aren't receiving any bailouts, but they do receive federal, state, and local tax exemptions worth between $12.6 billion and $20 billion a year, according to the Finance Committee's GOP staff. Also, their earnings multiplied eightfold between 2001 and 2006, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis last year....

And you know where all our tax money is going, too. How many tomes I gotta link, type, repeat, folks?


The IRS report found that most hospitals surveyed were complying with regulations dictating how hospital boards should set compensation for executives, and that in cases where pay seemed unusually high, board decisions were generally justified.

"Amounts reported appear high but also appear supported under current law," the IRS report said. "For some, there may be a disconnect between what, as members of the public, they might consider reasonable and what is permitted under the tax law."

Alicia Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the American Hospital Association, said: "Hospitals are following the rules and are committed to transparency to the communities they serve. The boards represent members of the community, and there's a rigorous process for setting executive compensation. . . . The boards take this responsibility very seriously."


Now watch Sicko and tell me why what they have can't be done here.