President Bush has often called attention to “”the unsustainable growth of federal entitlement programs,” and for good reason, for when put together they are majority of our federal taxes. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid also provide our greatest bang for our buck as much of our non-entitlement payroll taxes disappear into parts of the discretionary budget that have little impact on our lives. According to Bush and the Republicans, privatizing may be the answer, after all, corporations are trim and efficient, unlike the bloated bureaucratic federal government, right?
Wrong. Last year the highest paid federal employee was Bobby Ross, the head coach of the Army football team. He had an annual salary of $600,000. The President of the United States gets $400,000, but the perks are better. Other than those gentlemen, those earning over $150,000 a year are a rare breed.
The private sector, well that is a different story entirely. Below are two graphs. The first compares the government’s Medicare/Medicaid program to the nations largest for-profit private health insurer, UnitedHealth Group. The second is what would happening if our $564 billion Medicare/Medicaid budget were run like our nations leading private insurer.
Of course the second graph is a bit ridiculous. Obviously the American public would not stand for an administrator who receives a yearly $1.5 billion of its hard earned taxes. Yet, this is exactly what the American public tolerates with its corporate administrators. Well, guess what folks, you pay your health insurance from the same income that you pay taxes with. So why the double standard?
It is truly sickening that a company like UnitedHealth Group, whose policy of deciding which surgeries and medicines it will cover, affecting millions of Americans, can afford to spend $124 million a year on one man, William W. McGuire. By contrast, Leslie V. Norwalk, who is in charge of policies that affect many more Americans makes a tidy $143,250 as head adminitrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Invariably, people will say that under McGuire, UnitedHealth has become the most profitable health-care company in the United State.
Yet somehow, combining the terms “most profitable” and “health-care” leave an acrid taste in my mouth. I might get that checked out, when I can afford health insurance.