The sky-high pay of health care CEOs: Axios

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“The CEOs of 70 of the largest U.S. health care companies cumulatively have earned $9.8 billion in the seven years since the Affordable Care Act was passed, and their earnings have grown faster than most Americans’ during that time, according to an Axios analysis of federal financial documents,” Bob Herman writes over at Axios, in a piece with an engaging interactive graphic that lets you zoom in on the individual paychecks while also seeing the trend. “Why it matters: The ACA has not hurt the health care industry. Stock prices have boomed, and CEOs took home nearly 11% more money on average every year since 2010 — far outstripping the wage growth of nearly all Americans. But the analysis also reveals that the pay packages for the country’s influential health care executives don’t give them incentives to control health care spending — something that economists, policymakers and even Warren Buffett have said is the most pressing problem in health care.  What we found: Total earnings amount to an average of $20 million (median of $11 million) per CEO per year. A vast majority of pay came in the form of vested stock. The largest haul: John Martin, former CEO of the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, made $863 million in the ACA era — the most of any health care CEO. The big takeaway: Health care inflation continues to blow away general economic inflation, and a big reason why is because health care executives are not paid to slow spending. What the analysis covers: The total CEO compensation (salary, bonuses, stock, perks and retirement/severance when relevant) each year since 2010, when the ACA went into effect, based on company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These 70 corporations were chosen because they are based in the United States and are among the largest publicly traded health care companies, together encompassing more than $2 trillion of annual revenue. It did not include the generous pay packages of not-for-profit hospital CEOs.” Bob Herman, “The sky-high pay of health care CEOs,” Axios.