It's great for the people at the top. Current CEO Richard Bracken reports total income of over $46 million for the most recent fiscal year, notes Reuters, with President Milton Johnson bringing in over $27 million, almost all of it from stock. It's also good for construction workers. HCA is presently building a new $900 million headquarters in Nashville, twin 22-story skyscrapers, due for completion in 2015. Meanwhile, HCA has gone through repeated strikes and strike threats, most recently last month in San Jose, Calif., as the San Jose Mercury News reported.
You might think that health reform would sink HCA but the company is powering ahead, and the 24 analysts who follow it have a mean price target of $46 a share -- almost 20% higher than it's priced at currently. Most have a buy rating on the stock. So is this time going to be different for the public shareholders? I don't know, but I can practically guarantee it's going to be great for HCA insiders because it always is. HCA is a great example of what makes American medicine unique in the world, and what makes it so ferociously expensive. Only in America can doctors refer patients to facilities where they hold a financial interest and get rich in the process. At the time of publication, the author had no investments in companies mentioned here. Follow @DanaBlankenhorn This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.