Thursday, February 22, 2018
Aetna CEO to Get Astronomical Payout, Re-Confirming Obscene State of American Health Care

NEW YORK, NY Dec. 6 (DPI) – If and when CVS Health Corp. closes on its $69 billion acquisition of Aetna Inc., Aetna’s chief executive will receive a payout of appreciated stock holdings, salary and severance totaling $500,000,000, according to The Wall Street Journal.  That’s $500 million – an amount larger than the entire annual GDP of some small island nations.

The CEO, Mark Bertolini, has worked at Aetna for 14 years, and is widely credited with driving up the health care provider’s common stock price nearly five-fold since 2011.  In the meantime, Aetna, like the rest in its small league of publicly held insurers, has served its shareholders by improving profitability – primarily at the expense of customers, who are paying ever higher premiums simply to gain access to health care.   Bertolini is expected to retain a board seat on the newly merged company, but no longer lead day-to-day operations.

Such a disclosure about the size of Bertolini’s going-away present – so striking that the left-wing New York Times has not reported on it yet – is an indicator of the magnitude of the ongoing crisis in American health care, which is highly regulated, extremely expensive and, after the passage of the ACA, viciously unjust for anyone not employed by a large organization.  Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the carriers qualified to write health care policies have jacked up premiums, pulled out of regional markets that don’t suit them, and continued to pay for politicians who protect the status quo.

Readers who posted comments were universally shocked by the news of the CEO’s compensation, which is a reflection of what one reader called “the rent-seeking, crony capitalist” arrangement that Washington and the major carriers have created in American health care.

The comment below is not even the most recommended – it’s just the most recent post:

I’m a tech entrepreneur and CEO of a small software company. We are currently renewing our health care plans and facing a double digit cost increase (for the 5th year in a row!). Aetna is not our provider, but it turns out they are increasing premiums for their customers at roughly the same rate.  I also wanted to understand how Aetna is viewed by its customers: a very quick search to a Consumer Affairs website showed an overall satisfaction rating of 1 star out of 5 (710 reviewers). Really? There is clearly something wrong with the picture when the CEO of a health insurance company is increasing costs for its customers at will while delivering an unsatisfactory product and getting rewarded in such lavish disproportion. Wake up CVS! Wake up America!

The most recommended comments:

If I was him, I would vote in favor of the merger.

Now I understand why my Aetna health insurance premiums have been increasing every year!

And they blame pre-existing conditions and an aging population for rising healthcare costs!

If this man’s windfall were the result of Genuine Capitalism – you know, free markets, competition, little to no regulation, a lifetime of sweat and risk-taking and true ownership and growth  – well, Mr. Bertolini might actually be able to walk away from the acquisition with 500 million dollars with a clear conscience.  BUT THIS IS HEALTH CARE, PEOPLE – it is ground zero of our national crisis of rent-seeking crony capitalism, of a cartel of private providers that pay off  their political minders,  and screw suckers like you and me with higher premiums and higher deductibles and denied claims – and then of course they withdraw from Rahm’s “marketplaces” that aren’t profitable enough. If this  doesn’t set off a health-care revolution in this country – nothing ever will.



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