To the editor:
I was appalled by the recent announcement that the former chief executive officer of Kansas University Hospital, who chose to leave for another opportunity, was given a $1.8 million separation package. The stated reason was to ensure she would not hire away hospital employees or disclose confidential information, both highly unethical activities. Just this extra compensation would pay the salary of the average family physician for about 13 years.
Unfortunately, this is small potatoes in the health care industry. The compensation of the CEO of United Healthcare was $124 million in 2005 and exceeded $3 billion over his 12 years in that job. Such exorbitant compensation is justified by the $3.31 billion profit his corporation earned in 2005. Aetna - $1.635 billion profit in 2005 with CEO compensation of $22.2 million. Cigna - $1.625 billion profit with only $13.3 million going to the CEO.
If you have not seen the movie "Sicko" by Michael Moore, please do so for information on where these profits come from. They come from you, your employer and your taxes. Ultimately, they come at the expense of 45 million patients (your friends and family) who can no longer obtain or afford health insurance.
We have arrived at a health care system for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many, and it is on the brink of total collapse. It is time to join the rest of the world and abandon our experiment in corporate health care for a single payer system.
Dr. Steven C. Bruner,