Kaiser Permanente the largest private managed care organization in the U.S. and only second in size to the Veterans Administration. Over the past decade Kaiser Permanente has also gone from a reasonably priced alternative for health care to one of the most expensive in the country. KP offers no explanation for the increased costs, only that this is part of doing business. Decades ago Kaiser was a non-profit that helped all people, then they changed to a for profit model, using wording that still claims non-profit status. Although, KP did reported almost $3 billion in non-taxed profit last year, and CEO George Halvorson’s annual compensation was $6.7 million.
Here is the problem; Kaiser Permanente is a private company owned and run by doctors. This is not unusual many hospitals and health systems are owned and run by doctors. But companies like Southwest Airlines are also owned by their employees, but Southwest tries to keep their costs to the customers low. However, at Kaiser it is only the doctors getting annual profit sharing. So when making a decision about a patient’s medical care does the doctor also think about saving money, costly procedures, and those annual profit-sharing checks. Face it, the more profitable the company, the bigger those bonuses. Sounds like a big conflict of interest when your doctor is deciding between patient care and their bank account.