4,664 Comments

Comments

bryantp says ...
<p>Your description of the Canadian health care system is follows stereotypes and is totally inaccurate. Currently, I live in a country with 'socialized' medicine (Japan). Their system works far better than ours, does not eliminate choice, and has long waiting periods only for elective surgery. When in the U.S., I've been a staunch customer of yours since the Austin days. I'm rethinking that. It seems you've lost touch with your roots. For a really well-balanced report on this, check out the Denver Post at <a href="http://web.archive.org/web/20101020182743/http://www.denverpost.com/recommended/ci_12523427" rel="nofollow">http://www.denverpost.com/recommended/ci_12523427</a></p>
08/14/2009 7:03:00 PM CDT
Mike says ...
<p>Mr. Mackey,</p> <p>First, I have no opinion yet on wether the current bill in congress is good or bad. Why? Because there is no way to believe what anyone says, including you. </p> <p>I don't know what the solution is, but one thing is simple to understand. Health care insurance companies exist to make a profit for themselves and their shareholders. After all the consolidation and merging and expense reduction, re-engineering, etc. etc. the only way left for these companies to grow and increase profits is to avoid paying claims'keeping the money.</p> <p>How is this done? By denying claims, finding pre-existing conditions after the fact once you get sick and dropping you (My dad was somehow supposed to know he had cancer when he renewed his insurance this year even though it had only been diagnosed in July. Yes, he's been dropped because they claim he knew.) Now, my brothers and I are paying for his treatment out of our savings. Looks like I'm going to have to get a loan for my daughters college education which begins 4 years from now.</p> <p>Until a few years ago, I would have agreed that we have the best health care in the world. That's because until a few years ago when I got the bug and started my own business, I worked for Fortune 100 companies where I received very good health insurance. Not once was a claim denied or unpaid. Not once did I have a concern about my health care.</p> <p>Now, I have private insurance. But I've spent at least 50-60 hours on the phone with my insurance company, fighting over every single claim. They refuse the claim, every time. I have to resubmit, every time. My doctors don't get paid for months and I'm losing well over a week of productivity. </p> <p>My business is actually doing very well at the moment, but I'm losing work and sleep over my families health care. Worst part is, this is the same insurance company with almost the exact same plan that I had at my last corporate job. Seems that if you're not on a giant corporate group plan, you don't count. </p> <p>As for those long lines in Canada and the UK, we've got a much longer one here in the U.S. It's 40+ million uninsured who don't have a line to stand on. I have insurance and I had to wait over six weeks to see a specialist last year- only to wait another 4 weeks to see another specialist and then wait for 2 months for surgery. That's almost 5 months waiting. But, oh, I forgot. No one waits in America for health care.</p> <p>One other area we agree on is that refined and processed foods are playing a tremendous role in the fattening of America. Are you saying we should go after big agriculture now? Are you? Really? Or is that just the marketing of your business you're referring to?</p> <p>And what about the fact that we can't compete as well internationally in business because our major competitors all have socialist (or communist) health care programs-removing that major expense from the bottom line? Wasn't it Toyota that built it's last factory in Canada because the health care cost in the U.S. would have made the factory unprofitable?</p> <p>So what is left? Most of what you suggest would barely make a dent in the problem. Where are the numbers to support what you say? As they say 'Show me the money.'</p>
08/14/2009 7:04:00 PM CDT
Donna Bennett says ...
<p>Thank you for taking a stand! I will be doing my shopping from now on at my local Whole Foods store.</p>
08/14/2009 7:07:00 PM CDT
pjean says ...
<p>Honest,reasonable and logical. I am sorry some have attacked you for the position would take on the issue of health care. There are many Americans today who are being demonized and labeled because although they don't like the bill on the table, their ideas of how to address this issue is much like yours. It's unfortunate that someone who has learned through his business experience, what solutions are encouraging employees to take ownership of their health care decisions, should be attacked for such perceptions.</p> <p>When I attend a townhall, I will keep in mind your sound solutions, along with other very reasonable ideas that encourage better health, personal freedom and less government intervention. I have an HSA myself and it has allowed me to make the same thoughtful decisions about my health and the health of my family. There is great support for you. Average, reasonable Americans have a lot in common. Some entities would rather we not get too friendly with one another or it will lessen their power over the American people.</p> <p>Blessings.</p>
08/14/2009 7:09:00 PM CDT
A very disappointed and now former shopper says ...
<p>Honestly, it blows me away that Mr. Mackey came out with an op-ed like this. Personal opinion is one thing, but does this man realize just exactly which kind of people shop at his stores?! This was a stupid and unnecessary move on his part. I am personally very offended by some of his comments on health care. I have loved whole foods for the past 5 years and shop there as often as possible, usually 2-3 times a month. I travel over 10 miles to get to WF, bypassing dozens of other supermarkets. I have been willing to pay the higher prices because I believed in the mission of WF. I was even a stockholder for a few years!</p> <p>Well my friends, this was a dealbreaker. There is a Trader Joe's and a Mrs Greenjeans much closer to me than WF. I will now be saving gas and traveling time, and shopping at these other chains.</p>
08/14/2009 7:13:00 PM CDT
Jason says ...
<p>Sorry, still not shopping at Whole Foods anymore.</p>
08/14/2009 7:15:00 PM CDT
Mark Osborne says ...
<p>I appreciate Mr. Mackey's stand in proposing an alternative to a complete government takeover of the healthcare industry. I have liked Whole Foods for years ' I like them even more now and will shop there more in the future.</p>
08/14/2009 7:16:00 PM CDT
Kate says ...
<p>I loved shopping at Whole Foods, but I can't support a company run by a CEO who believes what you espoused in the WSJ. What you advocate would mean the government is flush and doctors will be wealthier, but millions of American people will either suffer and die for lack of health care and funds to pay for medicines, tests, and treatments OR they will end being bankrupted by health costs. </p> <p>I'd love it if insurance companies were so cool they would work with what you've outlined. But they are greedy and do not care if we live or die. Apparently you don't either. </p> <p>We used to spend upwards of $500 a month at Whole Foods. Until you are no longer employed by the company we will not shop there.</p>
08/14/2009 7:16:00 PM CDT
dave says ...
<p>you think health care should be bought and sold like a personal computer? how do you put a price on life saving treatment? if a person cannot afford chemotherapy they should be allowed to die?</p>
08/14/2009 7:19:00 PM CDT
Pat B says ...
<p>Not much to say other than I can't imagine what would compel me to set foot in a Whole Foods store again. I'm kind of ashamed of myself for what I've already spent there.</p>
08/14/2009 7:20:00 PM CDT
Charlie says ...
<p>I read your WSJ article, and also read that some folks are now boycotting the store. I have been driving over 120 miles roundtrip weekly to purchase all my groceries for over 15 years and I do not plan to cease that. In fact I am encouraged by your position and wanted to voice my support to you and your entire team at Whole Foods. In my opinion all you did was give some excellent alternatives to socialized health care. You expressed an informed opinion, which is still legal. Your arguments were reasonable and valid. I support your right to free speech and I also agree with your sentiments. Please do not let the naive naysayers bother you. Keep up the good work!</p>
08/14/2009 7:22:00 PM CDT
M. D. Hardy, M.D. says ...
<p>What perversion of sanity transmuted accessibility to medical care into a 'right'? I can understand that one has the right to contract with a plumber to provide a service for a fee. I can understand that one has the right to buy groceries from whomever he chooses. I can understand that one has the right to offer his goods or services for a price that he considers appropriate, and that the person who desires those goods or services has the right to seek another source for those goods or services if he thinks the price is too high or the quality of the product is not satisfactory. Such is the nature of a free society; such is the nature of moral commerce between individuals.</p> <p>When one man, by force, expropriates the goods or services provided by another man, we call him a thief. When one man is forced, either by a gun held to his head, or by government edict, to provide goods or services for less than they would be worth in a free society, we call him a slave. When thievery by one group of people, and enslavement of another group becomes the law of the land, is this not antithetical to all that America has stood for?</p> <p>As a physician, I personally get a great deal of satisfaction out of taking care of someone who, through no fault of his own, cannot afford to pay the fee I would ordinarily expect to be paid. The 'pay' I receive in these instances is, on the basis of my moral code, adequate, and it is something I've chosen to do. That patient is not a thief; I am not his slave.</p> <p>Such would not be the case under House Bill 3200 (or any of the other bills that I'm aware of) now being considered in Congress. And just as my ability to contract with patients in a free-market fashion would be destroyed, so would patients' rights to decide on what care they receive be terminated.</p> <p>Do you really want a government bureaucrat deciding what level of care you receive? Do you really want someone who feels enslaved providing your medical care?</p> <p>Thank you, Mr. Mackey, for, with your voice and your pen, standing up for America and all Americans (even though some seem not realize that's what you are doing)</p>
08/14/2009 7:23:00 PM CDT
Your Primary Demographic says ...
<p>Absurd. A billionaire's 'I've got mine so you just need to endure' vision of health care. The selective omission of what is subsidized (i.e., socialized) fully in this country and which allows corporations like WF to even function is cleverly ' or stupidly ' disregarded. History tends not to be charitable to Mackeys; he who hoped to be regarded as the Andrew Carnegie of Arugula must now contend with irrevocably alienating his primary (educated, affluent, mobile) customer base.</p> <p>As for myself, I'll be shopping locally &amp; organically, patronizing small businesses that, with the aid of a just universal health care plan, will be WF's uncrushable competition. Not even hiding under pseudonyms will protect WF's CEO from that market freedom.</p>
08/14/2009 7:23:00 PM CDT
Jenny Bou (kids' book author) says ...
<p>Mr. Mackey ' You may have lost Cindy Lou, but you are gaining 'Jenny Bou' and her family. My daughter is allergic to corn, so I find your store has the most options for us. After reading your Op/Ed, I stopped by the Buckhead location on my way home from work today and picked up dinner for my family. BTW- I love your Tuna Tartare. It is the best! </p> <p>Keep fighting for Freedom! Moo wah!</p>
08/14/2009 7:24:00 PM CDT
A very disappointed and now former shopper says ...
<p>Another thought- if Canadians are so very unhappy with their health care system, please tell me why the man who created that system (Tommy Douglas)was named in 2004 as 'The Greatest Canadian' of ALL TIME?? To put that in context, Wayne Gretzky only came in at #10.</p> <p>They seem to have their priorities in order up there in Canada. No doubt there are some detractors, but no system is without its critics. At least the ones up there will live to criticize!</p>
08/14/2009 7:26:00 PM CDT
Mary says ...
<p>I rarely shopped at Whole Foods, but I will shop there regularly now. Thank you, Mr. Mackey, for showing the courage to speak up with honesty and intelligence.</p>
08/14/2009 7:26:00 PM CDT
R. Duffy says ...
<p>I 'WHOLE' heartedly agree with you'please-please-please don't buckle to the pressure from the left. I happily travel 30 miles to your store in Madison, NJ and will continue to do so. You founded your store on the principals that made this country great, and you have every right to voice your opinion. There are more who agree with you, than disagree; we are not as vocal because we have a JOB to go to every morning'¦..But I think the tide is turning'¦</p>
08/14/2009 7:27:00 PM CDT
Ravi V says ...
<p>You just lost another customer'¦.Trader Joes rules unless their CEO writes moronic op-ed pieces like you.</p>
08/14/2009 7:28:00 PM CDT
cory says ...
<p>Unfortunately, mainstream supermarkets are full of unhealthy, heavily marketed products.</p> <p>It is unreasonable to blame people for buying what has been made most available to them by companies who prefer to keep consumers ignorant.</p>
08/14/2009 7:32:00 PM CDT
S. Devga says ...
<p>That quote from Mrs. Thatcher is interesting.</p> <p>Unfortunately you misquoted her.</p> <p>Margaret Thatcher, in a TV interview for Thames TV This Week [[1]]on Feb. 5, 1976, Prime Minister Thatcher said, ''¦and Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They [socialists] always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them.'</p> <p>'The socialists ALWAYS run out of other people's money'</p> <p>But history has proven her wrong. The National Health system has been running for 61 years. They haven't run out of money yet.</p> <p>Good luck to you. You've neglected to build stores in strong conservative areas. Massachusetts alone has more stores than Utah, Missouri, Alabama, Arkanas, Louisiana and Kentucky combined. Mississippi and Alaska don't even have one between them.</p> <p>It's gong to take you years to build stores in conservative areas like Charlotte NC, while the existing stores in liberal areas like the Triangle, NC will decline.</p> <p>Bad business plan.</p> <p>But you've sold your stock. You don't care about the stock holders. </p> <p>History will prove you wrong just like it did to Mrs Thatcher.</p>
08/14/2009 7:32:00 PM CDT
Bob Whiteman says ...
<p>Mr. Mackey,</p> <p>You start out by indirectly labeling the current proposal by the Dems 'socialism,' framed by Thatcher's quote. Fine. It's also true that many of your workers and former employees have been kept alive by the good fortune of our nation's medicare plan, which is pure socialism, as is social security. And you realize that many aspects of our current economic system are rooted in socialism, if not pure socialism such as social security. It's fine that you've found a good fit for some of your employees'though I doubt that every employee, as you say, would agree with you.<br> It's funny'¦where was this outrage when our nation was pissing away billions if not trillions when it's all said and done on a war of lie in Iraq? At least the party in charge today is attempting to find a solution to a huge problem in America, which admittedly you agree with.<br> Half of the fools who are arguing against President Obama's efforts benefit from social security and/or medicare at this very moment; the other half have no idea what they are speaking about and keep arguing that 'Granny will die,' which ironically already happens when bean counters get their hands on our private plans.<br> You've drawn a line in the sand, sir, and many of us will now do the same thing. You've traded a lot for a few, and let's see how the right likes their arugala.</p>
08/14/2009 7:35:00 PM CDT
James says ...
<p>Firstly, I moved from Canada to the USA to be with my American wife. So I know exactly what the Canadian health care system is like. Stop the damned lies please.</p> <p>Secondly, the American health care system sucks big time. When I moved here I was denied coverage by Kaiser Permanente in California for a physical disability because of a military accident in Canada. Isn't it nice that you Americans can discriminate against people who have a disability? </p> <p>Thirdly, if there is anything I'd like to keep from Canada it would have been my medical coverage. At least I did not have to worry about anything. The Canadian medical system is great. I could go to any doctor in any clinic or even to any emergency room (when necessary) for FREE. No going bankrupt for anything. How you Americans can be proud of your medical system is astounding. I would hang my head in shame.</p> <p>Mr. Mackey'¦ You are clueless when it comes to what goes on in Canada. Before you speak nonsense you should actually do some research.</p> <p>BTW, Canada has a single payer medical system and it did not turn Canada into a socialist country. Jesus, you Americans make me sick with your 'socialist' rants. You have 'socialist' type medical systems in place with the military and Medicare for seniors. What's the problem?</p> <p>I don't understand why the government doesn't just extend Medicare to ALL citizens and permanent residents. It would be a very short bill to read in Congress instead of this ridiculous circus going on right now.</p>
08/14/2009 7:37:00 PM CDT
Ronald Goldstein says ...
<p>Your 'plan,' Mr Mackey, fails to address corruption at insurance companies. The answer to our health care problems lies not in less regulation. Too many people are cheated by insurance companies that cancel policies and refuse services. I have received refusals of service from insurance companies which were only rectified when I threatened legal action. Tort reform will not help consumers.</p> <p>You are wrong! And I am distressed to find out that you support a campaign against a public option for health insurance.</p> <p>My family spends about $10,000 a year at Whole Foods Market and now we are looking for an alternative. Maybe this is not important to you, but I have no other way to vote against your plan and your campaign.</p>
08/14/2009 7:39:00 PM CDT
Tammie says ...
<p>Appreciate your view and comments. My company subsidizes our HSA which really helps but we still must contribute to meet the deductible.</p> <p>I don't believe I should be required to pay for everyone else's health care, especially non-citizens. I'm pretty sure I'm already contributing to their care through the medical costs I pay. Hospitals and doctors must cover non-payment of services somehow. I realize that some people really hit hard times and can't pay their bills. I also realize that some people choose not to have insurance because they are young and healthy. Some are free-loading on the United States' good graces. Our government should not be involved in health care and managing that system. They generally aren't that great at managing business. Spending is currently out of control and they want to raise the deficit limit. It seems to me they've lost their minds and any common sense they may have had.</p> <p>I haven't shopped much at Whole Foods in the past because it is out of my way and more expensive. I'll be making more of an effort to shop Whole Foods now.</p>
08/14/2009 7:39:00 PM CDT
Hank Lee says ...
<p>Mr. Mackey, if one of your stores was robbed and your profits put in jeopardy, you would expect the law enforcement officials to respond to your pleas for help. That is what a compassionate society does for each other. Yet nowhere in the Constitution does it state that the gov't must provide security to protect your profits. Why not just have the market prevail? Contract out all your security needs to companies such as Xe and pay them on a monthly retainer or on a 'pay as you're robbed' basis. No need to have tax dollars go for law enforcement. I mean, are not income taxes socialism? </p> <p>I will be taking the $500/mth I currently spend at WF elsewhere, to a company that actually believes in supporting the society that so greatly enriches its coffers.</p>
08/14/2009 7:43:00 PM CDT

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