"Aetna is a well-managed company and I am confident that your shareholders are going to do well," President Obama said to Aetna CEO Ronald Williams at the White House before a nationwide television audience back in June. The Seton Hall University Law School Health Reform Watch blog reports that Mr. Williams's 2008 total compensation was $24,300,112. Not bad for a year in which Aetna's share price plummetted to $28.46 from $56.47, losing about half of its value. The Seton Hall blog says that by comparison, WellPoint CEO Angela Braly is underpaid. She earned $9,844,212 in 2008. To Mr. Obama, the bankers are fat cat suicide bombers earning obscene bonuses (or they were, at least until he changed his tune). But the health insurance companies, whose executives earn as much or more than the bankers, are "well managed." Or at least Aetna is. Mr. Obama wasn't criticizing the insurance companies, because they pretty much backed his plan to force Americans to become their customers and use tax dollars to subsidize their premiums. We're generally of the view that free markets should set compensation. But there aren't too many other businesses around where you can earn a free-market salary while using the force of government to corral customers and the taxing power of government to subsidize your premiums. And Mr. Obama says a health care overhaul failed because he didn't do a good enough job of explaining it?
Aetna's CEO Compensation
by Editor | Related Topics: Compensation, Health Care receive the latest by email: subscribe to the free futureofcapitalism.com mailing list