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|Born||1932 (age 85–86)|
|Education||Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science|
|Known for||founder and CEO of U.S. Healthcare|
Nancy Abramson Wolfson|
Marcy Abramson Shoemaker
Early life and education
Born to a Jewish family in Pennsylvania, and raised in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood of Philadelphia. Abramson attended the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, driving a taxi for cash to cover his expenses. After graduating, he worked as a salesman for pharmaceutical company Parke-Davis. He then worked as a retail pharmacist for six years and then took a job with R.H. Medical Inc., a small hospital-management company then headquartered in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania where he served as vice president for corporate development. Noting that as hospitals, doctors, and pharmacies were able to charge whatever price they wanted for their services, he developed the concept of the health maintenance organization, a new form of health plan that instead of paying doctors and hospitals on a fee-for-service basis (where they are incented to maximize the number of procedures), they would instead be paid an all-inclusive fee to maintain the health of the patient (thus incenting the health care provider to focus on the overall health of the patient and preventive care so as to avoid more costly hospital care). In the mid-1970s, he left R.H. Medical and with the aid of $3 million in federal loans, he founded a non-profit HMO, HMO of Pennsylvania. In 1981, he abandoned the company's nonprofit status and in 1983, he took the parent company, renamed U.S. Healthcare Inc., public.
In 1990, Abramson published a book, Healing Our Health Care System, attacking what he perceived to be the problems of the American health care system, which he called "nothing less than a national disgrace."
Abramson headed U.S. Healthcare from 1975 until 1996, when he sold it to Aetna for $8.3 billion. At the time of the sale, Abramson's salary was $3.85 million and he held shares worth $63.2 million. Abramson profited $900 million on the sale. Abramson then served on Aetna's board of directors from 1996 to 2000. Abramson previously served on the Board of Directors of the NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc. and the Board of Trustees of the Brookings Institution, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins University.
Abramson is married to Madlyn Abramson, who is also Jewish. She is a cancer survivor and the couple pledged $100 million to build the Abramson Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center. The Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life in North Wales, PA is named in honor of the couple. They have three children: Nancy Abramson Wolfson, Judith Abramson Felgoise and Marcy Abramson Shoemaker..
In the late 1990s, Abramson sued Inside Edition for invading his privacy when the news show covertly videotaped him and his family at their Jupiter, Florida home, as part of an expose on the lifestyles of wealthy HMO executives.
- Jewish Week: "Girding For Campus Battles In The Fall" by Eric J. Greenberg May 31, 2002
- Philadelphia Inquirer: "$1 Billion Man He's Collecting Huge Fares" by Gloria Campisi April 2, 1996
- http://www.kevo.com/profile/leonardabramson Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- Philadelphia Inquirer: "u.s. Healthcare's Abramson: Dedicated, Perhaps Ruthless" By Gilbert M. Gaul April 02, 1996
- Philadelphia Inquirer: "u.s. Healthcare Has Found A Prescription For Profits" By Gilbert M. Gaul May 14, 1991
- Philadelphia Inquirer: "Abramson Quits Aetna Inc. Board He Sold U.s. Healthcare To The Insurer In 1996. His Departure Was Seen As Part OF A Housecleaning" By Karl Stark June 08, 2000
- Philadelphia Inquirer: "Family's $100 Million Gift To Penn Has Personal Roots" By Huntly Collins December 12, 1997 | Asked if Jewish tradition and values had influenced her philanthropy, she referred to the Hebrew word for righteousness and charity: "Jewish people are taught the word tzedakah . . . from the time they are children. . . . We [the Abramson family] are very Jewish-minded and American-minded."