I just read "The rise and fall" (Sept. 8, p. 30), your overview of problems dogging Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. I have been in healthcare for over 25 years, and never have I seen such unbridled greed and arrogance since the rise of the industry's for-profit sector.
In Philadelphia, Leonard Abramson, former chairman and chief executive officer of U.S. Healthcare, was paid over $900 million in cash and stock when the HMO was sold to Aetna in 1996. Your recent article states that Richard Scott, ousted Columbia chairman and CEO, (held stock) worth more than $300 million. Such figures are outlandish, yet these men are feted by the media as captains of industry.
Any healthcare system that permits such economic anomalies eventually will fail at the hands of an irate populace. Healthcare is funded primarily out of the common wealth of the country. Medicare, Medicaid and other programs are funded by our taxes. Scott and Abramson have made millions off of a public who believed the mantra that capitalism and competition will cure all our ills. But we have only ourselves to blame.
The healthcare reform debate was won by slick ad campaigns funded by for-profit insurers and healthcare providers. The media also are to blame. During the debate, members of the media were beneficiaries of ads run by the for-profit sector as they scared the public into defeating any form of national healthcare.
Some areas of life cannot be governed by the creed of greed.
Financial aid officer
Roxborough Memorial Hospital