Thursday, November 09, 2006

"Voters Spank Health Care Ex-Honchos"

Voters Spank Health Care Ex-Honchos

By Jim Cramer

It's hilarious that the two people who have been the most vocal on health care, former Pfizer CEO Hank McKinnell and former UnitedHealth CEO Bill McGuire, are being repudiated as much as the president is today.

Hank constantly talked about how to fix health care. He always blamed the hospitals. In truth, he was instrumental in making it so the government spent more money on drugs than it had to, which left a lot less money for everything else. Meanwhile he, like Ray Gilmartin at Merck, turned his company into a giant marketing team with little innovation.

Bill McGuire got his today, with a stream of bad headlines that could not have come at a worse time for the company he built. Of course, that company would have been down anyway because of the election, and shouldn't have run Tuesday.

So what is Jim Cramer referring to?

Well, Pfizer stock tanked after the election, and Bill McGuire's UnitedHealth Group Inc. warned investors on Wednesday that its stock option fiasco will cost much more than the $286 million it previously estimated, and said it would restate earnings all the way back to 1994. Last month, according to AP, a company-sponsored investigation concluded that some of the more than $1.5 billion worth of stock options awarded to then-Chairman and CEO William McGuire were probably backdated. That means they weren't really issued when the company originally said they were.


McGuire resigned as chairman and the company has said he will step down as CEO by Dec. 1. On Wednesday UnitedHealth spokesman Mark Lindsay said McGuire hasn't left yet, and that the final terms of his departure are still being negotiated.

Another billion perhaps before you go, Dr. McGuire?

I mean, you have already handsomly beaten Hank "83 million retirement package" McKinnell!

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