Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Ten Million Dollar Man

In the Inky's Business section today, from Joseph DiStefano's PhillyDeals column, "Candidate Santorum quits hospital chain," (6/16).

In the article DiStefano points out that Santorum stepped down from the Universal Health Services board of directors. Over a third of the money that Universal brings in is from Medicare and Medicaid (government money, from taxpayers). The company paid Santorum $168,000 to attend board and committee meetings. He was part of the committee that decided to pay the CEO, Alan B. Miller, a compensation package totalling $10 Million.

Two things pop into my head when I read things like this. The first is that I've been on the board or held elective office in a number of organizations. None paid me. Second, what the heck does this guy do that's worth $10M? It's astounding. For that kind of money you could pay the salaries of around 200 Pennsylvania teachers for a year.

If that's the standard salary for health care system CEO's I wonder how much the country could save if these guys halved their salary. Getting by on $5M would, of course, be a hardship, but if a good-sized chunk of their money is coming from taxpayers shouldn't they be part of this "shared sacrifice" we all hear so much about? If teachers and other public workers are paying more for their health insurance and seeing pension and base salaries cut, why shouldn't this guy's compensation package be cut?


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