Shareholders were restless at today's WellPoint meeting. Some were there to deliver a petition to WellPoint asking them to return to their foundation of quality health care as a non-profit organization. Others were there to protest the approval of executive pay increases. Others were there to protest rate increases for small employers.
Bucky Bush, investment manager and brother of George H W Bush was also there as a long-time board member. About an hour into the meeting, he collapsed.
The brother of former President George H.W. Bush collapsed during health insurer WellPoint Inc.'s annual meeting Tuesday morning, abruptly ending a gathering that had grown testy with criticism from some shareholders.
William H.T. Bush, 71, was taken to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and admitted as a precaution, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday afternoon. She added that he was alert and that doctors were evaluating his health.
Bush has served on the company's board of directors since 2004. He was sitting with other directors during a question-and-answer session when he moaned and leaned to his right side about an hour into the meeting. WellPoint officials cleared the room and called for help.
In what might be one of the more ironic twists to this story, the emergency room doctor who rushed to Mr. Bush's side was Dr. Rob Stone, director of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan, an organization advocating for a statewide publicly financed, privately administered single payer health plan. Dr. Stone has been an outspoken WellPoint critic and fierce spokesman for single payer health care.
The abrupt end to the meeting left many shareholders and interested parties frustrated, too.
Some shareholders were not happy WellPoint adjourned its meeting so soon after Bush became ill. Julia Vaughn, who represented the consumer group Citizens Action Coalition at the meeting, implored Braly to continue as several people attended to Bush, who was laying on the floor.
"I don't think Angela is a nurse," Vaughn shouted while WellPoint officials tried to clear the room.
After the meeting, Vaughn led a protest outside WellPoint's headquarters. About 70 people gathered to listen to a singer and some speakers. Many held signs asking for a single-payer health system and warning passers-by that for-profit health insurers are "Hazardous to your Health."
At any rate, it appears that Mr. Bush is going to be all right. I somehow doubt he will become a fan of single payer health care, though. Shareholders of WellPoint might be all right, too, since their shares are up a few cents as I write this.