“We can never be gods, after all--but we can become something less than human with frightening ease.”
I know it's click bait, but the top 100 most influential people in health care, according the Modern Healthcare, is worth a look. It contains the following individuals in its "Top Ten:"
- Kathleen Sebelius (#1) who resigned as the head of Health and Human Services after the botched Healthcare.gov rollout
- Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (#2) who jettisoned the state's $248 million dollar attempt to arrange its own health care exchange website
- President Barack Obama(#3) - of course
- Mr. Stephen Hemsley of UnitedHealthcare (#4) who made a cool, $4.57 million in compensation last year and exercised $9.48 million in stock in 2013
- Marilyn Taviner (#5), CMS who gets a little love each year from her prior employer, the Hospital Association of America on top of her salary as CMS Director
- Mark Bertolini (#6), CEO of Aetna, who made $2.66M in compensation and exercised $4.52M in stock in 2013
- Richard Bracken (#7), CEO of HCA, who earned $38.6 million for his role as CEO in 2013 before retiring and pocketed a cool $46.3M in 2012
- newcomer Joseph Swedish (#8), CEO of WellPoint, who earned only $7.48M in 2013
- George Halvorson (#9), of Kaiser Permanente, who doesn't report compensation (a bit of "Sunshine law" needed, perhaps?) but other sources pegged his compensation at $6.7 million back in 2009
- Sister Carol Keehan (#10), of Catholic Health Association who likely made well in excess of $1M in 2011
Yet we wonder why our health care costs are so high.
Only two of these ten (Taviner and Keehan) - both former nurses) have any clinical experience. There is not one doctor on the list of the 10 Most Influential People in Healthcare.
Sad to see that. Our absence from this list is probably more of an indictment of our anemic leadership skills than anything else. Unless doctors are able to figure this out, we'll continue to both be blamed for our system's problems and left powerless to fix them.
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