Health Care Reform - Full Article

As you are probably aware, I wrote an Op/Ed piece that was published in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week on health care reform, one of the biggest and most emotional issues facing our country. I was asked to write an Op/Ed piece and I gave my personal opinions. While I am in favor of health care reform, Whole Foods Market as a company has no official position on the issue.

 

In answer to President Obama's invitation to all Americans to put forward constructive ideas for reforming our health care system, I wrote this Op/Ed piece called simply "Health Care Reform." An editor at the Journal rewrote the headline to call it "Whole Foods Alternative to Obamacare," which led to antagonistic feelings by many. That was not my intention - in fact, I do not mention the President at all in this piece.

 

I fully realize that there are many opinions on the healthcare debate, including inside my own company. As we, as a nation, continue to discuss this, I am hopeful that both sides can do so in a civil manner that will lead to positive change for all concerned. You are welcome to share your thoughts in the comments section below. (Just remember our comment guidelines prohibit vulgarity and personal attacks.)

 

Here is the original unedited version that I submitted.

 

Health Care Reform

 

"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money" —Margaret Thatcher.

 

With a projected $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009, several trillions more in deficits projected over the next decade, and with both Medicare and Social Security entitlement spending about to ratchet up several notches over the next 15 years as Baby Boomers become eligible for both, we are rapidly running out of other people's money. These deficits are simply not sustainable and they are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation or they will bankrupt us.

 

While we clearly need health care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and moves us much closer to a complete governmental takeover of our health care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the exact opposite direction-toward less governmental control and more individual empowerment. Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:

 

1. Remove the legal obstacles which slow the creation of high deductible health insurance plans and Health Savings Accounts. The combination of high deductible health insurance and Health Savings Accounts is one solution that could solve many of our health care problems. For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week (about 89% of all team members) for our high deductible health insurance plan, and provides up to $1,800 per year in additional health care dollars through deposits into their own Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness. Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their own health care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan's costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of team member satisfaction.

 

2. Change the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have exactly the same tax benefits. Right now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible for employers but private health insurance is not. This is unfair.

 

3. Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that health insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable everywhere.

 

4. Repeal all government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance many billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual health insurance customer preferences and not through special interest lobbying.

 

5. Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors into paying insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are ultimately being passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.

 

6. Make health care costs transparent so that consumers will understand what health care treatments cost. How many people know what their last doctor's visit cost? What other goods or services do we as consumers buy without knowing how much they will cost us? We need a system where people can compare and contrast costs and services.

 

7. Enact Medicare reform: we need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and move towards greater patient empowerment and responsibility.

 

8. 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.

 

Many promoters of health care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care-to universal and equal access to doctors, medicines, and hospitals. While all of us can empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have any more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have an intrinsic right to food, clothing, owning their own homes, a car or a personal computer? Health care is a service which we all need at some point in our lives, but just like food, clothing, and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually-beneficial market exchanges rather than through government mandates. A careful reading of both The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter, because there isn't any. This "right" has never existed in America.

 

Even in countries such as Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries are told by governmental bureaucrats what health care treatments and medicines they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them. All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce and expensive treatments. Although Canada has a population smaller than California, 830,000 Canadians are waiting to be admitted to a hospital or to get treatment. In England, the waiting list is 1.8 million citizens. At Whole Foods we allow our team members to vote on what benefits they most want the company to fund on their behalf. Our Canadian and British team members express their benefit preferences very clearly-they want supplemental health care more than additional paid time off, larger donations to their retirement plans, or greater food discounts; they want health care dollars that they can control and spend themselves without permission from their governments. Why would they want such additional health care benefit dollars to spend if they already have an "intrinsic right to health care"? The answer is clear: no such right truly exists in either Canada or the U.K. or in any other country.

 

Rather than increase governmental spending and control, what we need to do is address the root causes of disease and poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for their own health. Unfortunately many of our health care problems are self-inflicted with over 2/3 of Americans now overweight and 1/3 obese. Most of the diseases which are both killing us and making health care so expensive-heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and obesity, which account for about 70% of all health care spending, are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal or no alcohol consumption, and other healthy lifestyle choices.

American Diet

Over the past two decades, breakthrough scientific research by Colin Campbell, as documented in his book The China Study, and clinical medical experiences by many doctors including Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn, John McDougall, Joel Fuhrman, and Neal Barnard have shown that a diet consisting of whole foods which are plant-based, nutrient dense, and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most of the degenerative diseases that are killing us, and becoming more and more expensive to treat through drugs and surgery. We should be able to live healthy and largely disease free lives until we are well into our 90's and even past 100 years of age.

 

Health care reform in America is very important. Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially responsible and that we have the freedom to choose our own doctors and the health care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices. We are responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our personal lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society.

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4666 comments

Comments

Christopher Santos says …

<p>Health care is INDEED a right, Mr. Mackey. A basic human right. Why on earth should I put your profits or anyone's attachment to conservative ideological purity before my right to access to health care? You are entitled to your opinion, just as I am entitled to take my business elsewhere and to encourage all of my friends in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco to do the same. Adios. See you in the emergency room!</p>

Tim Shipman says …

<p>Because you have choosen to inject yourself into the health car debate I will choose not to shop at Whole Foods.</p>

Jon Berry says …

<p>You write: 'A careful reading of both The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter, because there isn't any. This 'right' has never existed in America.'</p> <p>Try this:<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.'</p> <p>Perhaps in your next attempt at writing an editorial, you can try to explain how an 'unalienable' right is not an 'intrinsic' right, but good luck with that'¦<br> How can one sustain 'life' without 'food' (or healthcare, for that matter (but perhaps you were not born in a hospital)). And if you withhold food from a child, then you will be in real trouble.</p> <p>Regardless, whether I do or do not have an intrinsic right to food, I'll be getting mine from Trader Joe's in the future.</p>

Cathy says …

<p>I haven't shopped much at Whole Foods, there isn't one near and the parking is awful. After reading your blog I will make a point to shop more often at Whole Foods. Thank you for being the voice of reason.</p>

Jennifer says …

<p>Great article! It's a shame that some people can't see the bad outweighs the potential good on this new healthcare scheme. If there were Whole Foods in New Hampshire, I would gladly buy all my groceries from you. I wish all companies treated their employees like you do!</p>

George V says …

<p>Mr. Mackay if what you say is true then I would like you to get the WSJ to print an retraction or at the very least have them admit that they over edited your writing. As it is the article above is still 'an eye opener'. I mean you start with a quote from Margaret Thatcher for God's sake.</p> <p>Till I see that you will not see another penny from me and I imagine the now over 5,500 Facebook members of Boycott Whole Foods group. We will vote with our dollar and yes you will feel it. </p> <p>Sure you will get a few Joe the Plumbers to show up as noted above but they will go back to Walmart after a few weeks and then what?</p> <p>Do yourself and your company a favor and resign.</p> <p>For now I will get my organic food from a local farmers market and Trader Joe's.</p>

april leder says …

<p>THANK YOU!!!! I knew that I have shopped at Whole Foods for the last 26 years for a reason!! (okay, Mrs. Gooch's before) Thank you for voicing your view. I really appreciate it and I will continue to be a loyal customer. It is refreshing to have such an opinion voiced in a world where it seems that everyone wants to be 'politically correct' and not share their view. Thank you again!!!<br> april leder</p>

Rob R says …

<p>Great Op-Ed! </p> <p>Way to stand up against Fannie Med! Not sure why we can't try cheaper fixes first like you suggested'¦ oh wait it doesn't empower politicians.</p> <p>I would bet money that most of the people who said they will boycott Whole Foods will be back in a month. Where else can you buy most of the eclectic stuff they eat anyway?</p>

TomH says …

<p>Throwing around scare-words like 'socialism' does nothing to further the debate, and can't be blamed on the Wall Street Journal. Your reaction to the response from your customers shows us how little respect you have for us and while you claim that Whole Foods takes no official position on this issue, the language of your intro is virtually identical to the press releases recently issued by Whole Foods PR team. I note that your comment policy of 'no personal attacks' doesn't see, apply to your new likely (astroturf) customer base who have just arrived to insult those of us that have been shopping at whole foods for years. </p> <p>Sincerely,<br> A Former Customer</p>

T Stamper says …

<p>You are a great role model and true leader. Thank you for speaking pragmatically about this hot issue, and informing many people, who are currently being fed dishonest facts by the White House and the media, about alternatives and how best to reform health care. </p> <p>I am going to shop at Whole Foods much more often now, dropping my hard-earned money on your delicious cheeses, produce and buffet. I am even going to add you on my Facebook page. Thank you for speaking intelligently about this issue. It was truly insightful.</p>

Steve C. says …

<p>I completely agree with your view on diet but that's about it. The fact that you would anchor your op-ed with a reference to socialism proves your disingenuousness and completely undermines your credibility. I would think someone like you would know better. Your first two paragraphs are nothing but right wing talking points. The assertion of a 'goverment take over of health care' is simply preposturous paranoia.</p> <p>You call health care an entitlement? How dare you. You are wealthy enough to afford the best care money can buy, yet your op-ed doesn't mention one word about the 47 million American's who don't have health insurance. The view that health care is a privilege and not a right is morally outrageous and morally indefensible. You very clearly articulate the Darwinian attitude toward your fellow American's that is so common among right wing hypocrits. </p> <p>Most of your suggestions would continue to doom more and more Americans to bankruptcy and premature death due to a lack of access to, or inadequate health care. </p> <p>I will be encouraging as many people as possible to shop elsewhere. </p> <p>Your statistics about waiting lists in the UK and Canada are gross distortions and you should be ashamed for repeating such misinformation.</p>

Terry says …

<p>Straight off, I do not shop at WF. The entire store is overpriced and they are aggressively anti-union. I see no reason to pay extra when I can get the same thing at another anti-union store for much less. I'm thinking of TJs. </p> <p>When you start off a healthcare op-ed in the WSJ by quoting Margaret Thatcher on socialism, you're probably going to anger liberals. Duh. Some of your bullet points are valid, and I'm sure any number of them will be included in the whatever bill the President signs. That being said'¦</p> <p>It doesn't take a genius to figure out who your customer base is and what you've done here is alienate them. This is really unbelievable. You really stepped in it this time.</p>

Peter Fernandez says …

<p>It's unfortunate that although Whole Food's CEO Mackey claims not to speak for Whole Foods 'the company' his Op/Ed for the WSJ will most certainly have a negative effect for 'the company' and its employees. His ignorance and disregard for his company's huge liberal client base will have devastating consequences. Mr. Mackie has single<br> handedly brought on the Liberal boycott of Whole Foods. Thank you Mr. Mackey for joining the ranks<br> of Sarah Palin. Folks like you promote the Liberal cause just by being yourselves.</p>

Deanna Rieser says …

<p>I'm nearly speechless. How could you be so out of touch? And how can any decent human being not think health care is an entitlement? </p> <p>Your comments about HSA's seem great, if only it worked out that way in the real world. Maybe that's your problem. You've gotten so high up in this corporate world that you have actually lost touch with all of us with our two feet on the ground. </p> <p>~A Wholefoods Vendor that can't afford health insurance for her employees'¦not even high deductible policies with HSA's.</p>

neuron says …

<p>John, great points. Kudos for publicizing your thoughts.</p> <p>I find the majority of the opposition comments here very discouraging as it seems like most people won't even discuss your points. Instead I see plenty of people adopting the mentality that you somehow aren't for health reform because you don't support Obama's plan, and deciding to boycott.</p> <p>Best of luck to you, and we'll certainly continue to shop at Whole Foods.</p>

Mary P. says …

<p>There is so much wrong with your screed that it's impossible to know where to begin. Suffice it to say that, from this day forward, I will boycott Whole Foods with the passion I once reserved only for Walmart.</p>

Steve C. says …

<p>One more thing: Anyone who uses the canard 'rationed care' is a fool because health care already is rationed '¦ by the insurance companies! They decide who gets what treatments, how much doctor's get paid, etc. Currently, Americans' health is largely at the mercy of profit/loss decisions made by accountants and actuaries. I suspect from your statements, Mr. Mackey, that you truly have no conception of what it is like to actually have to experience the health care system in this country.</p>

Jonathan Brosin says …

<p>You may rest assured that I, my family and our progressive friends will never darken the doors of your stores again, except, perhaps, to use the bathroom. Calling health care reform 'Socialism' raises a meaningless bugaboo. Highways, sewer service and water are just as socialistic. You know what? I like those things, and I'll bet you do too!</p>

Ann in Bethesda MD says …

<p>As a physician who has been in practice for over 20 years, the only part of your article I can agree with is the part about the importance of a healthy diet. The rest of the article is simplistic and/or false and does sound-as another person noted- a lot like right wing talking points. The health care proposals on the table have nothing to do with 'socialized medicine'. They do include ways to keep health costs down and do include strategies to make our health care system more effective. Serious and thoughtful people are working on these proposals who really care about quality health care that is affordable. While it is great to encourage good eating habits and to discuss your own health care solutions for your company, I suggest you actually read the health care proposals before you embarrass yourself with ill-informed statements that alienate your clientele who have more sense and knowledge on the subject than you do.</p>

Mike says …

<p>Blaming the headline writer is specious. You are a multi-millionaire who can afford all the private health care you need. Most of your customers are not. Throwing around the 'socialism' scare word is intellectually dishonest. We have been a socialist country for at least a century. We have socialized police, socialized fire, socialized military, socialized k-12 education, socialized ambulance service, socialized parks, socialized libraries, etc. You think health care is less important than libraries and parks? I have enjoyed your store, but I cannot patronize it any longer given your disregard for the welfare of your cutomers.</p>

Matthew Fladell says …

<p>There's an old 60s saying 'You're either on the bus or off the bus.' Clearly despite the greenwashing Whole Foods is off the bus. With all the right wing Big Lies about the Obama Health Care plan, there is no room for waffling. So which side, Dear Reader, are YOU on? It's clear which side Whole Foods is on. Count this family as one more on the picket/boycott line. 'We shall have (whole grain) bread and will shall have roses and HEALTHCARE too!' Hey Mackey, see that light? It's a bio-diesel train coming at ya at 100 klicks an hour, repent, or get outta the way!</p>

Bill Myers says …

<p>Who do you think shops at your store Mackey? Rednecks?!</p> <p>It's L-I-B-E-R-A-L-S and we want Universal Health Care.</p> <p>Something like France has. France, better health care, better food than America. </p> <p>I have all my Whole Foods receipts from about 6 or 7 years.</p> <p>I think I will do an guerrilla art piece with them.</p>

Patrick Callery says …

<p>I am deeply offended by your view on health care reform. There is much in your thinking that is either wrong-headed, or perhaps more likely, geared toward protecting your company from the burden of social responsibility and concerns about your own taxation, no less so than the CEOs of ExxonMobile, PhillipMorris (excuse me, I meant Altria, that smells better)or Halliburton.<br> As a provider of nutritional products of higher value, informed selection and concern for the environment, you are indicating a profound level of hypocrisy. A man of your position should instead take a hippocratic approach. You have such gall to dangle out there that health care is not covered under the Constitution or Declaration of Independence which begs the implication that guns are. You may not be pro-gun, however the Founders saw a necessity for firearms in a largely wilderness nation,and experienced with wars, revolutionary or otherwise. Such a thought in the 21st century is absurd. Conversely, the availability of medical care not being extended to citizenry in a prompt, uncondition and humane way is equally absurd. You crown your argument with the suggestion that we make a tax-deductible donation to Medicare and others. Maybe we can revive the Jerry Lewis Telethon? By the way, my friends in the UK and Canada do not feel left out by their system. They do think the US backwards on the issue, and see this national debate (?) as amoral.<br> Mr. Mackey, you make my blood boil. I can no longer shop in your stores. It is so discouraging to have assumed good intentions where the foundation of Whole Food. Sir, you have poisoned well. I can not think of your company the same way I once did. What a shame.</p>

Karla H. says …

<p>Maybe WF will see a slight, short-term uptick in the number of redstaters and freepers who shop there, if they are willing to drive the two counties over to get to their 'local' WF, but that will be overwhelmed by the number of progressive-thinking regular WF shoppers who will change their shopping habits because of the ghoulish (health care not a basic right??) and incendiary (comparing reform to socialism??) viewpoint you have expressed which is ridiculously out-of-line with your customer base. Hello Trader Joe's. Goodbye $450 a month at WF.</p>

her massin says …

<p>I wish you hadn't summarized the reforms as socalism. That is silly.<br> I will shop elsewhere until the reforms Obama promised are enacted<br> into law.</p>

Ravi G says …

<p>I was just becoming a frequent shopper at whole foods over the last couple of months in Cleveland area. you just lost another customer with your oped article. Don't try to spin yourself out of this, your customer are not stupid.</p>

Lance says …

<p>Boil it down and what you are saying is that I, as CEO of Whole Foods, am going to use the health care reform issue to promote the business of Whole Foods. If everyone shopped at Whole Foods, everyone would be healthier, and everyone's health care costs would be lower. Thats is simply beautiful. Hey John, if you truly believe this why don't you set the example? Why don't you lower the prices at Whole Foods to an affordable level. Then everyone can shop at Whole Foods, everyone can have a healthy diet'¦. and best of all everyone's health care costs will be lower. I will be spending my dollars at Trader Joe's!</p>

R.Ryning says …

<p>I am very fortunate. I have insurance despite a 'pre-existing' condition due to my husbands policy. I have a very good life, sufficient finances. I have been a pleased customer for a very long time and have defended the 'Whole Paycheck' slams. We often donate to the causes promoted at the check out stand and are happy to have a place to do so.<br> I will now do everything I can to shop elsewhere. I feel we have a moral obligation to care for others. Sometimes others need our assistance. They are often less fortunate due to circumstances beyond their control.<br> I am not religious, I just care about those around me. I don't care to donate in ways that put my name forward. I don't want recognition. I will pay more in taxes, willingly, to help those that need help. I am surprised and appalled to know that you feel so differently.</p>

BEATRIZ FOLSOM says …

<p>I find it very offensive for you to use Whole Foods name in a political matter'¦.I will be spending my $15,000.00 a year at other markets'¦.</p>

Daniel says …

<p>I assume that you feel rationing of health care by the insurance industry is acceptable. The average health insurance CEO compensation is ll+million/yr. Administrative costs for health insurance corporations is approx. 25% while other industrialized countries average around 5%. There is no bankruptcy due to medical care in these countries while here there are around 1 million per year due to health problems. What is your resource for the waiting lists for health care in Canada and UK? While no health delivery system can be perfect, other countries seem to have a moral sense that caring for their citizens is worth the effort. Granted, our Constitution does not mandate universal health care. So, I guess you are correct, only those things specifically outline in that document should be part of our efforts to care for our citizens. I assume then that you are for repealing Social Security and Medicare. These programs certainly are 'Socialist'. I was so surprised to read your comments. I cannot believe that your employees will agree with you'they are a great bunch and I am so sorry to have to move along to another market due to your statements.</p>

Sharon says …

<p>I have been a loyal customer for from day one, even when I couldn't afford to shop at Whole (Paycheck) Foods, even after the new store in Oakland sold food from Everett and Jones (nothing healthy about Everett and Jones). I will shop at Berkeley Bowl and Trader Joe's and the various farmer's markets. I will also go out my way to shop at the new organic market in West Oakland. You have lost a very good customer. Please note everyone does not have your money to afford the life you have.</p>

w says …

<p>John,<br> Thank you for telling the truth. Your company attracts a lot of liberals who believe that health care is a right and socialism will solve all problems. Every person in the whole world has their own responsibility for their lives and health. Government intervention can only exacerbate the situation. Government control of my health is unacceptable. In their eyes I am only a statistic not a person. Once again, thank you for having the courage to tell the truth and not allow the liberal socialists to threaten you. In the future, I will be a loyal and constant customer of yours.</p>

Hedrick Alixopulos says …

<p>Dear Whole Foods, as a person working three jobs just to make ends meet, I was always willing to pay a little more for your products. I will no longer shop at Whole Foods. I should have known that a corporation will always act like one. I hoped for better from you. You lost a loyal customer and I am sure that you will make it up temporarily by those who believe in your political opinions. But for them ultimately money talks and they will go back to Safeway for the bargains. Your customers made a conscious choice to go to you and pay a little more not an ideological one. By parading your politics you have force me to make a choice.</p>

Jackie Newberry says …

<p>I was surprised at some of the things you wrote. I like the idea of giving people an opportunity to support others in more need. The argument for tort reform, which we now have in Texas, has dramatically decreased the amount of lawsuits against doctors. Med mal lawsuit costs amount to 1-2% of medical costs. A drop in the bucket. Attorneys receive 35-40% of any settlement or award. The insurance industry is a way bigger thorn in physicians' sides compared to attorneys.<br> This President wants to use the budget to build infrastructure and assist people to have the basics to survive, as opposed to Bush &amp; righties who have been and still aspire upholding the fat cats society. Most of them don't give a flip about others who have very little. If, as in Denmark, health care is provided for everyone (socialism is not like communism, and who says socialism is bad? Democratic socialism meets the need of the community and not scary. The system we've had for the last 8 years has been terror and hell.</p>

Kathy DeLange says …

<p>I have already left a long response to the WSJ article addressed to customer service. However, I do want to note that, as a very long time customer of WF in Houston who also shops at WF in Atlanta, Las Vegas and NYC, I am going to no longer shop at my store in Houston. I spend a lot of money there and hope that your new conservative friends can match the enthusiasm of your long time patrons. Your staff at the Kirby store is excellent; but my more conservative friends in the Rice University/River Oaks area are not so receptive to the diverse nature of your wonderful employees. Perhaps you should request that they adopt a more conservative style (your employees'your new best friends will already be more conservative). Best of luck. You will need it'I feel betrayed. But I'll just start a full court press to get Trader Joe's in Houston. We already have great choices of farmer's markets inside the loop. You can have the 'burbs; you will need them.</p>

Chris says …

<p>Still the conservative mentality is to punish the poor for being poor. How many people working at minimum wage jobs to support their families do you think can afford to shop at your stores? None. </p> <p>Matthew 25:40 And the King will make answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Because you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.</p>

Ed Z. says …

<p>Mr. Mackey, well said.</p> <p>I will seek out a Whole Foods at my earliest opportunity and buy something. <img src="The%20CEO%E2%80%99s%20Blog%20%C2%BB%20Blog%20Archive%20%C2%BB%20Health%20Care%20Reform%20%E2%80%93%20Full%20Article_files/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" class="wp-smiley"> Okay, so I will probably still deep fry whatever it is I buy, but hey.</p>

Paul Camp says …

<p>So your solution is health insurance that covers nothing and is so expensive it can only be purchased by . . . well . . . people like you. </p> <p>Oh, also, and buying from Whole Foods will make insurance unnecessary.</p> <p>You know what? No more Whole Foods for me. Ever.</p>

CJ says …

<p>As a stockholder I would appreciate if you would keep your mouth shut about controversial issues.<br> As a consumer I might still shop at WF because I do not want to hurt the employees who work in my local store, although after re-reading your op/ed, I don't know that I will. Your callous indifference to those of us struggling to pay these insurance extortionist, in order to avert financial ruin if, God forbid, someone in our family has an accident or becomes ill. We have the high deductible health insurance plans with Health Savings Account that you think is great. Maybe it is good for your company, but it does not work for everyone, like those of us who have to buy private insurance in the individual market.<br> You probably do not realize that some of your shopper's pay so much in health insurance premiums that it does require an intentional effort to pay WF's high prices .Since you want self employed people like me to pay even more for our already rationed private health insurance, that could in fact push me to change my buying habits and go to cheaper unhealthier food for my family or maybe I will just switch to the less pricey New Flower that just opened, even though it is farther away and I will have to drive right past the new Whole Foods that just recently moved very close to me.<br> We have to spend over $28,000 on our health care costs per year before our health insurance even begins to kick in. Our insurance premiums have increased 54% per year in the each of the last two years. If this continues at this rate it will consume our entire income in I think in 3-4 years. We are a non-obese healthy family of 4, not on meds other than for some allergies. Yet my family has still somehow made ends meet and have been able to shop at WF. Now I see that the person at the top of WF is in part perpetuating the distrust and Republican talking points, it does make me think twice about where my money is going. Apparently you want to have less of my shopping dollar, so I can give more to the insurance company CEOs, and then they can maybe purchase another vacation house or some such necessity of the uber-rich.<br> Health care may not be a right in your eyes, (I happen to think it is and I am an RN working in health care), it certainly should not be treated as a commodity.<br> It is curious that the WSJ changed the title of the article and injected Presidents Obama's name into it. No political games there huh? Never trust Rupert Murdoch (?sp).</p>

Erika says …

<p>Wow'¦Mr. Mackey, your 'privilege' is showing! I wish I had read this before going to your store this morning! My $200 per week habit just got cancelled; I guess it's my 'intrinsic' right to choose to go somewhere else. I have to tell you that I am truly upset about this and have much regret, to tell you that I am with the boycotters.</p> <p>I can tell you that as a person with NO health insurance at this time, I DO agree that good health practices and personal responsibility do factor into staying healthy; but that is all I agree with in your 'solutions' piece. WITH THAT SAID, what happens if I am hit by a car? What if I work in a toxic building and fall ill with Cancer? I struggle and make a grand effort to spend my pennies wisely and come into your store to eat healthy, hoping to stay well, yet I have no health insurance.. While you believe that I have no 'right' to this health insurance and millions of others like me, you gladly accept my weekly dollars, for what I consider to be 'food at a premium.' I struggle and still manage to spend $200 a week at your store to feed my family, but what about those who cannot? What about those who cannot afford to eat healthy, so theoretically (by your own logic), their chances of being healthy, automatically decrease? This issue doesn't just affect poor and working class folks; the middle class is now affected because health care, food, shelter is ALL at a premium and we are often forced to make choices between them. I thought, us liberals were supposed to be the out of touch, elitists? I am floored'¦I never knew that you saw things this way and how you can attempt to separate yourself from your company, when WF has honorable mention throughout the article is beyond me. </p> <p>Sorry Mr. Whole Paycheck'¦you lost me!</p>

Bob Dobolina says …

<p>Mr. MacKey seems to be receiving a lot of support in the comments from health reform opponents. Something tells me when they see the price of organic lettuce, very little of that support will translate into dollars in the register. I do love the dollars-as-votes power the American consumer wields. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.</p>

ExCustomer says …

<p>John -</p> <p>Thanks for expressing what you really believe. Now I know the right-wing beats at the very heart of Whole Foods. I believe that wing-nuts like you, and corporate frauds like Whole Foods are killing the country. Goodbye Whole Foods, forever. </p> <p>- ExCustomer</p>

C. Marie says …

<p>'Our team members therefore spend their own health care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. '</p> <p>I find the notion that people would be fluffing off $2,500 on needless trips to the doctor or buying medication offensive and disgusting. How can a person who needs medical attention spend their money more carefully? </p> <p>To think I went out of my way to go to Whole Foods. I personally feel that CEOs set the culture of the company and lead the way through their vision of what works for business. High deductible plans, believing employees are needlessly spending money on health and wellness care, and a focus on the costs of health services instead of ensuring everyone has access are ideas I choose not to support. </p> <p> I further thank my employer for paying the full cost of my insurance premium and keeping the deductible reasonable ( and they still manage to turn a profit.)</p>

Mason says …

<p>I've believed in and promoted Whole Foods for so long and was proud to be a customer, and now I only feel betrayed. I was naive. Enough is enough, and I don't even know if I will come back once Mackey is gone (since he will most likely still own a significant share). Farmers Markets, Rainbow Grocery and Real Foods (the locally owned locations) can have all my business now.</p>

downing says …

<p>dear mr. mackey,</p> <p>after a friend posted this article up on facebook and now having read it, i am amazed and quite alarmed. no longer will you be receiving $500-$600 a month from me (this is for one person'¦i know i know'¦i eat well, but i do exercise), as i will be shopping at PCC and Metropolitan Market for all my future organics and delicacies. as a ceo you represent your company and thus will be associated with your company ANYTIME you speak on any politcal issue. it's the nature of the beast. and it is obvious what your stance with the health care reform bill is. it is easy'¦very easy for the rich to discount the healthcare reform bill as i am confident you have the greatest healthcare insurance available for you and your family. also, i am not sure you are aware of who your organic/vegan/vegetarian/healthy eating/etc. patrons are or should i say were. good luck pedaling your services to the conservative right'¦let's see if they are willing drive from their suburban home to the city so they can pay 1.29 for a lemon. mr. mackey your article focused only on the financial aspect of healthcare. even when you talk about empathizing you relate it back to economics (While all of us can empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have any more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have an intrinsic right to food, clothing, owning their own homes, a car or a personal computer? Health care is a service which we all need at some point in our lives, but just like food, clothing, and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually-beneficial market exchanges rather than through government mandates). that is not empathisizing mr. mackey. sir, we are not a third world country and healthcare is not only an economical issue but a MORAL issue. learn compassion and true empathy.</p>

George Tindall says …

<p>After reading John Mackey's piece in the Wall Street Journal I will no longer shop at Whole Foods.</p>

Andrew says …

<p>Just returned from your store in Venice, CA. It doesn't seem to be hurting from this so-called 'boycott.'</p>

Gayle says …

<p>Yep a little to late. I won't shop where a CEO takes a position that has the potential to antagonize his customer base and promote division. And then says, oops, that is not what it was!! Damage us done.</p>

Mark says …

<p>Despicable. Especially from someone who has private health insurance and never has to worry about losing his savings, health, or even life if a serious illness develops.</p> <p>How you think that the problem of 50 million uninsured Americans can be solved with tax and tort reform is beyond me. But of course, you really don't care about them ' all you care about is making sure that taxes on the ultra-rich (like you) are not raised.</p> <p>I, for one, will never shop at Whole Foods again, and will do my best to ensure that all my friends do likewise. Good to finally find out what a selfish individual you really are.</p>

Brian says …

<p>I am a frequent shopper of whole foods. I have been for the past 10 years. I have noticed the store has become far more corporate of the past few years. It seems that the views of the CEO are very corporate as well. I strongly disagree with his stance on 'reform'. It is more of the status quo. Honestly, it sounds like he is lobbying for a job in a health insurance company. I will not be shopping at whole foods in the near future. I will take my business elsewhere. </p> <p>Some point I would like to comment on'¦</p> <p>Tort Reform- I agree that frivolous law suits are a problem and they should be thrown out by the judges. I disagree that the government should mandate maximum settlements. I believe it takes away power from the individual. </p> <p>High Deductible Health Plans- as a young person I would tempted to take these plans. Although, they are risky because they could easily bankrupt the average person because if they become sick or need extensive treatment a lot of the financial burden is on them. </p> <p>Eliminate Healthcare Mandates- So we should just trust the health insurance companies have our best interests in mind when determining who gets covered and what treatments get covered. </p> <p>Allow health insurance companies to do business across state borders- perhaps we should allow health insurance companies to merge to become to big to fail. </p> <p>Does John believe that we should do away with Medicare and Medicaid? Or just stop borrowing against it to pay for illegal wars?</p>

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