Maybe a New Day for Doctors’ Pay

The New York Times
Robert H. Frank
Read the article here.
Excerpt:

The United States spends twice as much per capita on health care as many other nations, yet achieves inferior outcomes by such varied measures as life expectancy, preventable deaths from specific illnesses, and infant mortality. Much of the performance gap stems from the fact that many of the nation’s 45 million uninsured fail to receive needed care.

The spending gap stems largely from a conflict inherent in how American physicians are paid. Elsewhere, most doctors are salaried. But under most American health plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, doctors are reimbursed according to how many tests and procedures they perform.

Most doctors undoubtedly recommend only those tests and procedures that they sincerely believe to be in their patients’ best interests. Yet those interests are seldom completely clear. And when doctors know that their incomes will be higher if they recommend additional procedures, many may tilt in that direction.

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Emanuel Said to Press for Sarbanes-Oxley Exemption

Some people never learn. Read the article here.
Excerpt:

The Obama administration is pushing House Democrats to spare small public companies the cost of complying with investor-protection rules imposed after the accounting frauds at Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc., according to people familiar with the efforts.

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is seeking the reprieve from audit requirements under the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the people said. Representative Carolyn Maloney plans to add the exemption, postponing compliance fees for firms with market values of less than $75 million, to a bill overhauling financial rules.

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Study: CEO Salaries At Nonprofits Up In 2008

NPR
Pam Fessler
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Excerpt:

It’s one of those things that irks charitable givers no end — the high salaries paid to some nonprofit CEOs.

And a new study by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, released Monday, shows that the top pay at the nation’s largest nonprofits rose again last year, with some eye-popping results. But the survey also found signs that these high-dollar salaries may be starting to turn around.

Seven-Figure Salaries

Here are some of the more striking numbers: $2.1 million for the director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; $2.7 million for the head of a health care group in Boston; $1.3 million for the president of New York University.

The survey found that many nonprofit CEOs earned half a million dollars or more last year, and that the median pay raise was 7 percent. But to be fair, says Chronicle editor Stacy Palmer, most of those salaries were set before charities and foundations felt the effects of the recession.

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The Quick Buck Just Got Quicker

The New York Times
Gretchen Morgenson
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Excerpt:

But a study of changes made in pay practices by 191 of the nation’s largest companies this year shows that where pay is concerned, enlightenment remains a long way off. In other words, meet the new pay, same as the old.

The study was conducted by James F. Reda & Associates, an independent compensation consultant in New York, and it looked at proxy filings issued by almost 200 companies in the first half of 2009. The firm analyzed changes these companies made to their pay plans that take effect this year.

The biggest shock? Instead of seeing a greater reliance on long-term incentive programs, the Reda report found that changes in these companies’ plans made short-term incentive pay a bigger part of the compensation pie. Let me say that again: The plans — despite the calamities that short-term profiteering has visited on our economy — made short-term incentives a bigger component of compensation.

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Sharper Claws for Recovering Executive Pay

The New York Times
Gretchen Morgenson
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Excerpt:

INVESTORS everywhere should applaud the deal struck last week by the UnitedHealth Group to recover nearly $1 billion in pay from former executives involved in the company’s option backdating mess.

Not only is the number big and round — by far the largest giveback by corporate executives ever — but the recovery sets a standard of behavior for other companies and boards when performance pay is later shown to have been based on ephemeral earnings.

But you already knew CEO pay is obscene

Akron Beacon Journal
Marie Cocco
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Excerpt:

WASHINGTON: This Labor Day, it must not go unnoticed that Angelo Mozilo, chief executive of Countrywide Financial the company that has helped drive world markets into turmoil with its lending raked in $42.9 million last year.

The Nobel laureate Harold Varmus, chief executive of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, was paid $2.5 million.

Roughly speaking, here is what their relative compensation means: We now value the contributions of someone who has left homeowners frantic about whether they will be able to keep a roof over their heads about 18 times as much as we do those of a brilliant scientist whose groundbreaking research on the genetic basis for cancer could save millions of lives

Should the SEC be doing more to improve corporate governance?

Blogging Stocks
Zac Bissonnette
Read the entire article here.
Excerpt:

Can you imagine if the President had access to all the resources of the government to fund his re-election campaigns, and there was endless red-tape preventing others from challenging the incumbency?

What if, instead of voting to re-elect incumbent congressmen, we had the option of either voting “yes” or “abstaining”?

Welcome to the world of corporate governance in America. Our shareholder democracy has more in common with Saddam Hussein’s government than our own political democracy.

Working Capital: Can Socially Responsible Investing Make a Great Green Leap Forward?

Marshall Glickman and Marjorie Kelly
E-Magazine, March/April 2004
Read the article here.
Excerpt:

The basic premise of socially responsible investing is simple: If money makes the world go ‘round, greener, more humane investments can improve the way it spins. Want sustainably managed forests? Provide loans or capital to eco-minded timber companies. Want Monsanto to get out of the genetic engineering business? Buy Monsanto stock and put forward a shareholder resolution demanding the company cease and desist. This isn’t just wishful thinking; social investors can point to many positive efforts like these. And their strength is building. Yet before hailing a new era of green capitalism, it’s also important to understand some of its limitations.

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