Wellpoint. The company which garnered much attention during the fight for health care reform when they announced a double-digit increase in their rates earlier this year, has just announced huge increases in compensation to several Wellpoint executives, the CEO, Laura Braly, being the recipient of the largest increase. Braly's compensation went from $8.7 million to $13.1 million in 2009, a jump of 51%.
It's all just a big misunderstanding, see. The problem is that all of us amateur, casual observers, with our pious concerns about "fairness" and "right and wrong," just don't understand the entirely rational and ultimately equitable dynamics of the free market system for labor compensation. Companies have to find and keep talented leaders, and if it takes $6.2 million in restricted stock, a $1.1 million salary increase, a $1.5 million performance bonus, $4 million in stock options and $292,036 in "other expenses" (including over $150,000 in "security-related improvements" to protect Angela Braly from us, the angry, overcharged, underinsured hordes) to retain a CEO who had the wisdom to force hundreds of thousands of Californians off the company's rolls or into bankruptcy-threatening situations in order to buoy WellPoint stock prices (which rose by close to 40% last year), then that's just how the free market works, which is nobody's fault, really, when you think about it.