BEST LOCAL BOY GONE BAD Minneapolis 2007 - William McGuire
Of the countless appalling statistics about our absurd health care industry, none is more damning than this one: Americans now spend approximately $400 billion a year on health care paperwork, or roughly a thousand dollars per person. Who is to blame for this perverse state of affairs is a thorny question; after all, we arrived here through the self-interested actions of scads of politicians, bureaucrats, and health care industry vampires. Among the latter group, William McGuire, longtime CEO of the Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group, makes a fine poster child. While technically not a "local boy," the New York-born, Texas-reared McGuire became the quintessential Twin Cities insider after moving here in 1988. In large part, that's because of his philanthropic presence. In the Twin Cities, his name now adorns both a fancy new medical technology research center at the U and a theater in the Walker Art Center. As it turned out, of course, the conspicuous charity was really a fig leaf for naked greed. By the time he left last year, McGuire was pulling in an obscene $8 million a year in salary and enjoying such perks as the use of the company jet. Gee, anyone have a clue as to what drives health care inflation?