Yesterday’s revelation that former Aetna CEO Ronald A. Williams was compensated $72 million in 2010, including $14.3 million in stocks, wasn’t good news for Americans who had to forgo coverage because insurance is simply too expensive or the insured population dealing with ever-growing premiums and it established another argument against the GOP budget. The details of Willliams’ compensation package are rather impressive. Williams received “$50.4 million in value realized through the exercise of options,” “$1.1 million in salary, $2.75 million in incentive pay, an additional $2.3 million in pension value and other compensation of $299,838.”
These numbers are even more stark within the context of the GOP’s Medicare reforms. Under the budget plan introduced last week, seniors would be forced to enroll in a private health insurance plan by 2022 and, as the CBO has found, would actually end up paying more for the coverage they are currently receiving through traditional Medicare. That’s partly because insurers have to set aside a greater chunk of money to cover their administrative expenses and profits — including compensation packages like Williams’.
For instance, a comparison of traditional Medicare and private insurers in Medicare Advantage demonstrates that while both operate under the same rules and enroll the same population, traditional Medicare spends less than 2 percent of expenditures on administrative costs, while private plans in Medicare Advantage spend approximately 11 percent on additional expenditures like profits. Republicans want the taxpayer to subsidize these increased expenses through fixed vouchers and place seniors in a situation where they have to spend more on coverage every year so that CEOs like Williams can have a comfortable retirement.