Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Wall Street Bonuses vs. Hospital Uncompensated Care this Holiday Season

After a banner 2006, Wall Street investment banks are slated to pay out a record $23.9 billion in bonuses this holiday season. These payments are in addition to already generous salary and benefit packages.

Recall the story of the Match Stick Girl, the young child who froze to death selling matches on a wintry European street? The modern day American version may not freeze to death, but many stand in line for health care services.

How do these record bonuses compare to the care hospitals provide but for which they receive no compensation? The latest data available showed in 2004 the amount stood at $26.9 billion.

As the investment house bonuses grew 17% from last year, it might not take long to make up the gap. That is, if the Bush administration hasn’t been creating more uninsureds?

Unfortunately the numbers without health insurance in America grow as fast as terrorists. Another 1.3 million were added to the rolls in 2005. It’s clear the U.S. economy has the wherewithal to fund health care for all its citizens, especially given this one industry bonus comparison. Only $3 billion separate the two figures.

What U.S. leaders lack is the will to do anything about it…

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