4,664 Comments

Comments

Tom Donovan says ...
<p>Great article!<br> I have two questions though.<br> Why did the major insurance companies back in the late 70's early 80's go from non-profit, to for-profit? Would an insurance premium cost less from a non-profit private business? I will safely assume that back in the day, it did!</p> <p>I feel that a for-profit medical benefit is intrinsically wrong.</p> <p>Regards,<br> Tom D.</p>
10/08/2009 7:47:00 PM CDT
john reiner says ...
<p>Dear Mr. Mackey,<br> I can only agree with you 100%. A specilized vegitarian diet coupled w/ some spiritual development, and correct exersice saved me from death by colon and liver cancer.<br> In the next 20ty years the rest of the world will figure this out. Even though I am a CEO of a corporation and a city councilman at night I try to spend part of each Thursday'S with cancer victims. After working with these wonderful sick people and having read over 40 thousand pages of research, I can tell you that this entire country will have to relearn the basics of nutrion. You are on the right track . Keep up the great work. The lives you save my be one of your family or friends. Thank You<br> With warmest regards,<br> John G. Reiner ASLA.<br> P.S. If You run into T. Colin Cambell, tell him I said hello.</p>
10/09/2009 7:08:00 AM CDT
Linda says ...
<p>Mr. John Mackey<br> You wrote a great article, what you say is the truth and the way things should be. But as you can see by the statistics in your article, the majority of Americans do not want to take responsibility for themselves. They lack self-discipline and accountability. They do not want to hear what people like you and I have to say. Just look at the 'American Diet: Designed for Disease' diagram. What are people thinking, how do they rationalize that?<br> My children are physicians. The majority of people they treat for ailments and disease have self abused themselves with smoking, food, drugs and alcohol. And we have to pay for this, I do not think that is fair.<br> Something absolutely needs to be done about the 'ruinous lawsuits'. My children, who are both great, compassionate doctors, live in fear everyday that they will be sued. Their malpractice insurance rates are extremely high. And you are right, it just gets passed on to the patient.<br> Keep up the great work, we need people like you running the country, let me know if you need help! On a personal note, I have owned a small natural foods business for 25 years (Whole Foods is my competition!). Last week I claimed the national title for the women's age 60 plus Xterra Off-Road Triathlon Championships in Ogden, Utah. I feel I am living proof that eating properly (I happen to be have been vegetarian most of my life), exercising and leading a healthy lifestyle contributes to good health and happiness.</p> <p>Sincerely,</p> <p>Linda</p>
10/09/2009 7:06:00 PM CDT
Jeff Faust says ...
<p>I enjoyed John Mackeys comments on health care reform. It is refreshing to see a CEO share such comments in a public forum. I found the comments to be interesting but the reasons that things are the way they are were left out. I assume this was done to not shed a negative light on the root causes of the current health care crisis and the current economic crisis. The two issues are intertwined as they are a result of a human characteristic shared by most people ' greed. Greed is part of human nature and is nothing to be ashamed of unless it's not controlled. Greed has driven our species to the top of the food chain. The problem now is that greed is causing more harm than good. I applaud the Whole Foods core value of 'shared fate'. Ben &amp; Jerry's ice cream had a similar core value. When they eliminated that core value I stopped buying Ben &amp; Jerry's. I have no desire to purchase a premium product and stuff more $$ into a multi-million dollar CEO paycheck/bonus. I don't have the time to find the greed motive to address all 8 comments but here's a few.<br> Comment #2<br> 'Change the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have exactly the same tax benefits.'<br> This one's easy. The laws are in place specifically to provide an unfair advantage to large companies. It makes it difficult for small companies that can't provide health insurance to attract well qualified employees if the employees have to pay for their own health insurance. It is made more difficult by having the employee pay for health insurance with taxable income. Executives of large companies will fight to keep it this way. They make more money when the playing field is tilted in their favor. Root cause ' greed on the corporate executive and stockholder level.<br> Comment #3<br> 'Health insurance should be portable everywhere.'<br> If health insurance would be portable then insurance companies would have more competition. More competition means less profit. Less profit means smaller executive bonuses. Root cause ' greed by health insurance executives.<br> Comment #4<br> 'Repeal all government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover.'<br> One of the neat tricks health insurance companies like to use to reduce paying claims is to not cover 'pre-existing' conditions. Let's say you are working for a company that provides insurance through Health Insurance Company A. You are receiving treatment for an ailment that requires treatment on an ongoing basis. What happens if you change jobs? Or if your employer decides to start using Health Insurance Company B? The ailment you have is now considered a 'pre-existing' condition and will not be covered under the health insurance plan. Less claims = more $$ for the insurance company. Root cause ' I can't say greed this time because it's not fair that Health Insurance Company B should be responsible for a condition that existed before they were insuring you. It is also not fair for the insured individual to not be covered when changing jobs or changing health insurance companies especially if the change is beyond the individuals control.<br> Comment #8<br> 'Permit individuals to make voluntary tax deductible donations on their IRS tax forms to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP or any other government program.'<br> This would work if greed wouldn't get in the way. Those most able to contribute either won't or they will contribute to a lesser extent than those who don't let greed rule their lives.<br> Closing comments:<br> Please read these carefully'¦<br> 'We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.'<br> Here is another interesting quote'¦<br> Amendment V<br> No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.<br> We can see by the Declaration of Independence and the Fifth Amendment that there is a right to life by law. What needs to be determined is what that actually means. It looks like it means that someone can't deprive someone else of life or the means to sustain it. i.e. Life exists, means of sustaining life exists, no one can take that away. When an insurance company drops an individual because they have become ill, the insurance company is taking away someones method of sustaining life. It can be argued that the insurance company is committing murder.</p>
10/10/2009 12:12:00 PM CDT
Aisha Barbeau says ...
<p>Dear Mr. Mackey,</p> <p>Your ideas completely leave out a large segment of the population like me and my husband. We have high paying jobs, are healthy (eat healthy and are physically active), yet through no fault of our own, we would be uninsurable if we lost our jobs due to a pre-condition my husband has (again, through no fault of our own, just bad luck in the genetics pool). What about us?????</p>
10/10/2009 12:48:00 PM CDT
Jason Smith says ...
<p>I am extremely impressed with the thoughtfulness, logic, and purposefulness of this article. The insights you give to Canadian healthcare are unique and should be published further. Thank you for sharing your ideas and solutions for health care reform.</p>
10/10/2009 1:10:00 PM CDT
Shirley Tong says ...
<p>Hi Mr. Mackey: Way to go!! We want to thank you for your excellent commentary made in response to Pres. Obama's request. This is a valid viewpoint that many of us agree with; we take responsibility for our own health by eating and living in a healthy way which helps prevent serious health problems and allows us the freedom to decide for ourselves when we need medical care, which is very seldom. God bless you for having the integrity and courage to speak the truth and to stand by it in the face of ill-informed antagonists. Warmest Aloha!! the Tongs</p>
10/10/2009 4:20:00 PM CDT
Caterina Platt says ...
<p>Dear Mr. Mackey,<br> I occassionally shop at Whole Foods, but now intend to drive the extra 30 minutes to do so as often as I possibly can. I live 25 miles south of the nearest store, but will make the extra trip. Bravo!! You've nailed it.</p> <p>I must also give a hearty cyber handshake to Dr Gregory L. DeSanto. Amen to you both!! Why are such voices of reason being squashed? Because, in reality, there is little truth to the current administration being concerned about the welfare and health of our nation's citizens. The true concern lies in gaining control of 1/5 of our economy. </p> <p>Caterina Platt<br> Los Lunas, NM</p>
10/11/2009 1:26:00 PM CDT
Lori Keesh says ...
<p>As a Registered Nurse who has worked in the Canadian health care system as a RN, CNA and LPN for 9 years and in the US health care system for 20 years I am offended. I have also utilized both systems and family and friends continue to use both systems. My father had prostate cancer and parkinsons and received excellent care. My friend is recovering from cancer in Vancouver and another is receiving treatment in Saskatchewan and so on. Your statements about the Canadian health care delivery system are completely incorrect. Is it perfect, no one would say it is. It is far better than the for profit health insurance system in this country. I can't even begin to say how wrong you are. Rationing health care! That happens in this country every day. I witness it. I live it. I'm told by my insurance company which physicians I may see. If I change employers I will likely change physicians as well. That never happens in Canada. You need to open your eyes to the true suffering of the people around you. Spreading misinformation does not help the conversation and only hurts true efforts on health care reform. I can't believe I shopped in your store today.</p>
10/11/2009 5:56:00 PM CDT
Sharon Abramczyk says ...
<p>Kudos! I finally have a high profile person who advocates my opinion'which I consider to be nothing more than common sense. Can you please run for political office. I can only hope that sanity will prevail. I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion on health care and admire the way you run WF. Thanks for the high quality fish and organic veggies. To sum it up, we all need to take responsibility for our lives'health care should be paid for out of pocket for routine care and save the 'insurance' part of it for catastrophic events'take out the middlemen and lots of expense will go away! My Naturopath charges $65 an appointment and doesn't have 5 people in the office filing forms with the insurance company'nuf said!</p>
10/11/2009 7:52:00 PM CDT
evelyn says ...
<p>That article proves how far above and away you are with your CEO position from the average American family. One extra loyal client with the power of buying for 4 goes to Traders Joe. I will be sure to share that article with everybody I know. Next time check the statistics for the approval of the reform before you share your private, political view Mr. CEO!! Your endorsement for Republican party didn't help and your company just limited their share of the market. </p> <p>Sincerely,</p> <p>Evelyn</p>
10/12/2009 3:47:00 PM CDT
Danny Camp says ...
<p><strong>Inflammatory </strong>Mr. Mackey'¦let's get real here! Although I do agree with some aspects of your article, I also have known many Canadians who have no complaints about their healthcare. And, you are correct in that we don't take proper care of ourselves. Now, why not really inform the public on how some of your employees are treated.</p> <p>I happened to have spent 2 years working in your Harry's Farmers Market in Marietta, Georgia where I saw employees forced out of their jobs because of weight and other health issues by your manager at the time, Jeff Turner. Yet, one of your chefs in that store has had numerous worker comp claims that, having worked with him, I believe to be self inflicted. He LIKED being off work.</p> <p>I worked in your meat department and was 'bumped' out by a meat Team Leader just because I didn't agree with things like chicken being 'soaked' in bleach and ice water to take the bad smell out because it was out of date and the Meat team leader hadn't ordered adequate supplies. Also, it was a common occurrence for meat to be dropped on a nasty floor and picked up and put back on display. I was made, by your now Sarasota store manager to falsify case temperature documents when the feds or Steri-tech came in. This was a common occurrence in most of the departments'¦<br> we called from department to department as soon as 'they' walked in the front door.</p> <p>When I complained about the goings on, I was 'written up' for 'bad-mouthing' Whole Foods product. </p> <p>You don't know what goes on in some of your stores!!<br> And, you have staff that doesn't care about Your employees.</p> <p>I did have excellent healthcare with your company and appreciated it greatly, but was Pushed out of my job by racism and general 'uncaring' of your upper management. And now these people have moved on to higher paying positions where they can continue to push out employees because of health issues.</p> <p>Even though I still own Whole Foods stock, I no longer go to any of your stores and will never shop there again.</p> <p>Although, you may know a thing or two about business, you, like many of your constituents, do not care about the health of the American people. I, like many, cannot afford healthcare and am only fortunate that my wife has Medicare, since she is disabled and has many medical bills. Why try to 'act' like you Care! I agree with many of the past comments, pro and con, but before you start commenting on what our politicians are doing(and, NO I do not agree with all that they do)you should really check out what goes on on YOUR homefront.</p>
10/12/2009 8:14:00 PM CDT
Reenie says ...
<p>Well said! I'm not sure I agree 100% with everything, but at least 95% of it shows more smart thinking and general ability to reason than lots of the hoopla going around today on this topic. Nice job!</p>
10/13/2009 3:00:00 AM CDT
Justen says ...
<p>Just wanted to say, and I doubt you'll see this amongst the thousands of comments here, I'm behind you 100%. I just moved to the Nashville area, and for the first time had the opportunity to shop at a Whole Foods. You've built an amazing company here, and the fact that you've done it on free market principles and have the courage to voice them makes me all the more happy to buy from you. Keep up the good work, and don't let the ignorant kiddies drag you down!</p>
10/13/2009 9:46:00 AM CDT
prescription-diet-pills says ...
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10/13/2009 3:24:00 PM CDT
Rick says ...
<p>Mr. Mackey,</p> <p>Thank you for a thoughtful and comprehensive analysis of the health care debate. The 'open dialog' touted by the administration has ignored these important points.</p> <p>Although the nearest Whole Foods Market to my home is over an hour away, I'm going to make it a point to shop there whenever I can.</p>
10/13/2009 6:59:00 PM CDT
Maureen Richmond says ...
<p>In the midst of the insane charade taking place at the nation's capital in autumn 2009, I am relieved to find common sense spoken by Mackey and others here on this blog in support of personal dietary responsibility and in opposition to imposed high-cost policies. </p> <p>I've been nearly beside myself for days trying to believe my ears and eyes as they registered the various provisions included in the Senate and House bills for this so-called reform. When today I finally discovered that one bill version includes a threat of not only fine but of incarceration for non-compliance with the personal mandate, my concern bubbled over into complete frothing despair. </p> <p>I don't want to live in a country that strong-arms me into a type of medical treatment I do not want. Moreover, this legislation threatens to make a good portion of our population into criminals when it comes into effect, as many simply will not be able to afford this type of insurance, or else will have to forego housing and food to pay. The proposals in Congress now would in effect levy a fee of perhaps $4000 per year for an individual to be a U.S. citizen in good standing. It's an outrage against the Constitution.</p> <p> Although I am a lifelong Democrat, I begin to sound like a right-winger defending my right to personal freedoms. Well, yes, that's exactly what I want. I do NOT want to be forced to take drugs, have MRIs, grams and rays, the usual. I prefer to follow a vegan raw foods diet and look to herbs and vitamins, plus holistic care. Of course, yes, I respect what modern medicine can do in cases of trauma, and all who need it should have this care immediately. But for regular daily living, I prefer the natural way.</p> <p>I follow Mackey entirely and agree completely that high-tech medicine is not the solution for long term well-being. And I, too, am completely disaffected with Obama, who himself seems to have totally forgotten that the nation is on its knees financially and simply can't afford to prop up the medico-hospital-insurance-pharmaceutical cartel and its voracious appetite for dollars anymore.</p> <p>Most unfortunately, the good intentions voiced by the advocates of 'universal care' have been seized upon and stood on their heads by the ruthless insurance industry. Slyly they nodded their heads and said, everybody under the umbrella? Sure, great idea. We'll just get a law passed saying everyone must buy our products, whether beneficial and affordable or not. All they've done is to spin the word universal to a new connotation which benefits their insatiable appetite for profit.</p>
10/13/2009 7:57:00 PM CDT
JM says ...
<p><strong>Inflammatory at the end</strong> Dear Mr. Mackey,</p> <p>THANK YOU THANK YOU for your article in the WSJ. I did not frequent Wholefoods very often before but now I am huge fan because of your article! It's refreshing to see that there are still some people that aren't bleeding heart libs and that actually have some common sense. Suck it libs!!</p>
10/14/2009 8:29:00 AM CDT
Paul O'Pinion says ...
<p>Loved your article and interview in the WSJ. I believe you have a new customer and fan. It would be great if some of our politicos (most of whom, unfortunately, are lawyers) would address Tort reform. Ain't gonna happen!<br> Keep up the great work!</p>
10/14/2009 5:29:00 PM CDT
Clare McD says ...
<p>A courageous article. Well said, from a man (and a company) that has found a way to be profitable and offer benefits to lower-wage workers. I'm a bigger fan than ever. </p> <p>As for all your detractors'¦ Looks like healthcare reform will pass without most of the recommendations you make. Won't be long before this country realizes they've been duped. I live in Tax-achusets and my family just received news of our premiums for 2010. Up 20%. Co-pays up 200%. That's what happens when you offer healthcare reform'¦ it's really just a new way of taxing businesses and workers. The harder work is in reforming the business of healthcare (from tort reform to reimbursement reform), not just paying for more of it.</p> <p>This country is going to hell in a handbasket (though I'm sure it will be an eco-friendly, fair trade handbasket). Whatever.</p>
10/14/2009 8:35:00 PM CDT
Vicky says ...
<p>I agree with things you say and disagree with others I will explain and why; </p> <p> I do agree with some but definately not all your points. </p> <p>There's no question that doctors in the United States make a lot of money, especially compared with their counterparts abroad.</p> <p>Another reason U.S. doctors get paid a lot is market forces: In a single-payer system like Britain's, the government can bargain down the prices of treatments, which leads to lower income for doctors. No such entity exists in the United States'Medicare is big, but not that big.</p> <p>Doctors' net take-home pay amounts to only about 10 percent of overall health care spending.* So if you cut that by 10 percent in the name of cost savings, you'd only save about $26 billion. That's a drop in the bucket compared with overhead for insurance companies, billing expenses for doctors' offices, and advertising for drug companies. The real savings in health care will come from these expenses. Health care reform will have some leveling effect on doctors' salaries.</p> <p>I am opposed to President Obama's plans to reform health care by cutting Medicare taking away benefits from existing senior citizens.</p> <p>Rockefeller said, 'omission of a government option from the measure was a virtual invitation to insurance companies to continue placing profits over people, and he predicted they would raise their premiums substantially once the legislation went into effect.</p> <p>Big Pharms and insurance companies favor the public option and have 6 lobbyist per each voting congress member plus millions to buy the votes they want in the reform bill, it'll be interesting and a bit scarey to see what comes of this.</p> <p>And if a market approach were to be, there would need to be just as many non-profits for private insurers to compete with otherwise it won't happen and I heard mention of using co-ops to compete, that actually made me laugh because a co-op would die before it even got started I am afraid. </p> <p>Insurance companies are going to fight to the end rather than take a huge cut in profits we do know that.</p>
10/15/2009 6:39:00 AM CDT
Vicky says ...
<p>After further readings here , I have found alot of the readings here uncomforting'¦. I see alot of blaming this person(president) or that one(congress) or party, wake up call time I guess; they are not the ones calling the shots, they are guided to do what they do, need I say more? look it up if you do not(elites; trilateral commission, CFR, bilderbergs)</p> <p>Are you people that naive? We have already lost democracy along the way and our constitution has been violated both of these have been robbed and picked at for years. </p> <p>Dont listen to anyone but yourself and do what YOU feel is right , my job is to pass along what I know and teach those who do not.</p> <p>I believe in capitalism, but greed is getting the way moving toward one world government by both partys'¦</p>
10/15/2009 7:04:00 AM CDT
Alan Rivenson says ...
<p><strong>Inflammatory </strong>Csn't keep your mouth shut, I see. Your clientele is liberal and you MUST sound off on your rightwing ideology. I'm done with Whole Foods.</p>
10/15/2009 12:22:00 PM CDT
Lisa says ...
<p>Thank you, John for your words. I was saddened when so many reacted negatively to your initial comments in the Journal. We have such a lack of tolerance in this country for differences. While I agree with much and disagree with other points you have made, I appreciate your willingness to share your views. We need dialogue ' open, honest and accepting dialogue around this very difficult issue that we all face. I fear, however, that we are sidestepping the real issue. That is, how we define health and what we believe and fear about death. They are the underlying drivers of this healthcare debate. But perhaps we are not yet ready as a society to tackle that deeper and more difficult conversation. Until that time, I am truly grateful for you and your company, the values you live by with your employees and the commitment you have given us as consumers to help us on the road to true responsible health through our nutrition. Thank you.</p>
10/16/2009 12:37:00 PM CDT
Dennis says ...
<p>I thank you for this very clear piece. I just wanted to take a second to let you know that I will actually be visiting your store's in the area more often now that I have more insight into the way you operate. Thank you for having the courage to openly state how a successful business does/can operate.</p>
10/17/2009 3:27:00 PM CDT

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