He "earns" compensation that would make a Russian oligarch jealous.
UnitedHealthcare CEO Stephen Hemsley took home over $66 million in 2014.
CEO Pay Watch UnitedHealth Group Inc.
Stephen Hemsley, CEO
Total compensation: $66,125,208 for the year ended Dec. 31, 2014
Non-equity incentive pay: $3,949,000
Other compensation: $107,479
Exercised stock options: $45,569,049
Value realized on vesting shares: $15,199,680
New stock options: 83,918
Yes, times are good for Mr. Hemsley, who actually "earned" an even more eyewatering $102 million in 2010
The top earner in our report was UnitedHealth Group chief Stephen J. Hemsley, with $102 million in total pay. Hemsley drew $3.3 million in salary and bonus, but also realized $98 million from the exercise of vested stock options.
Yes, leading a health insurance company is probably "hard." But is it harder than being President of the United States? Doing brain surgery? Or, well, even working as a waitress? Or selling newspapers for cash donations on the cold streets of DC while homeless?
And yet, even as our health care "system" and present political economy facilitates this grotesque profiteering by Mr. Hemsley, regular Americans continue to lack access to medical care for inability to pay.
A new study finds that significant numbers of people have less money available in liquid assets than what they face in the maximum deductibles and total out-of-pocket health cost limits under insurance plans.
Only three in five households have enough liquid assets to meet a deductible of either $1,200 per individual or $2,400 per family, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation study. Only about half of U.S. households had enough such assets to cover higher deductibles of $2,500 per individual or $5,500 per family.
The situation only gets worse for households when considering their exposure to total out-of-pocket costs. Just 48 percent of households have enough liquid assets to cover what were considered to be the mid-range of such out-of-pocket health cost limits: $3,000 per individual and $6,000 per family, according to the Kaiser study.
Just 37 percent can meet the higher range of such costs, or $6,000 per individual and $12,000 per family, the study found.
In other words, the same deductibles, co-pays and cost-sharing tools that force patients to "put more skin in the game" simultaneously take some of UnitedHealthcare's "skin out of the game." As patients choose between paying the rent or taking their feverish child to the emergency room, delaying cancer care or buying milk, Mr. Hemsley -- and his other parasitic friends leading America's truly "exceptional" for-profit health insurers -- gets richer and richer as UnitedHealthcare's exposure to the absurd cost of American health care
Yes, some folks are directly impacted from this greed: they will never seek care -- or delay care -- and die. Still, when sick people delay or deny themselves care -- or have bureaucrats at Mr. Hemsley's firm do it for them -- we all suffer. Our economy suffers, productivity suffers, public health suffers, our nation is a weaker place.
According to the Social Progress Index -- a kind of "GDP for human wellbeing" with updated data released yesterday for 2015 -- the United States is doing really, really bad in the area of nutrition and basic medical care. The Greatest Nation on God's Earth ranks...41st!
Finland ranks first -- and, well, we rank below Slovenia, Italy, Spain, Cyprus, Estonia, Denmark, Ireland, Croatia, Greece, Israel, Poland, Belarus, Montenegro, the United Kingdom, Macedonia, Portugal, Bosnia, Serbia, Slovakia...and, as you can see, that's just a "selected few" of the countries achieving better outcomes in health.
Yes, Mr. Hemsley's salary is part of the problem. This is why we could not even achieve a public option, let alone a single-payer system. Mr. Hemsley is a powerful oligarch -- and he won't give up this kind of wealth without a fight.
Oh, and, Mr. Hemsley's social media folks are kind enough to offer a tip on saving money for a "rainy day" (errr...paying a massive UnitedHealthcare deductible or co-pay):
Brutal, ain't it?