WASHINGTON, July 24 (Xinhua) -- The CEOs of 70 largest U.S. healthcare companies cumulatively have earned 9.8 billion U.S. dollars in the seven years since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, American news website Axios reported on Monday.
CEOs have taken home nearly 11 percent more money on average every year since 2010, far outpacing the wage growth of Americans, according to an Axios analysis of federal financial documents.
Total earnings amount to an average of 20 million dollars per CEO per year. John Martin, former CEO of the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, has earned 863 million dollars since 2010, the most in all healthcare CEOs.
The biggest portion of the earnings comes in the form of vested stock, making CEOs more willing to make decisions that would raise stock prices, like selling more prescription drugs, performing more procedures and tests.
"Stock-heavy pay also drives CEOs to do the exact opposite of their buzzword-laden goals of creating a patient-centered health system that focuses on value," said Axios.
The biggest problem with the current incentive mechanism is that decision makers in healthcare industry have little interest in controlling healthcare spending.
According to USAFacts, a non-profit research corporation, U.S. national health expenditures were equal to 16.5 percent of GDP in 2015 and the U.S. healthcare spending per capita was more than twice the average of other developed countries.