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Madison WI healthcare executives’ pay exceeds national average

Wisconsin State Journal, August 31, 2011

Hospital leaders in Madison earn more than the national average of roughly $630,000, and compensation last year for the top executives at Dean Health Plan and Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin topped $1 million each. Madison's hospitals, health systems and health insurance companies must pay their leaders well to remain competitive, healthcare consultants say. But critics say healthcare executives shouldn't make so much. Healthcare spending is expected to increase 5.8% annually through 2020, when it is projected to make up a fifth of the economy, according to a federal study last month. Hefty compensation packages for top executives, along with six-figure salaries for many other administrators, contribute to rising healthcare costs, said Robert Kraig, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Citizen Action of Wisconsin. "In healthcare, when you raise costs, you put a huge burden on individuals and on businesses," Kraig said. "It's not sustainable."