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

Chris says …

<p>A $2,500.00 medical deductible is approximately 16% of the gross salary of a minimum wage worker. Now where to spend that last $12,580.00 maybe paying rent, (average rent of $651/month) another $7,812 gone. Now they have a whopping $4768 left'¦That's a staggering $91 a week to spend on everything else. Electricity bill, phone, car, FOOD, clothes, everything'¦. </p> <p>Wow those poor people sure do have it made.</p>

Craven Morehead says …

<p>Government hands off our Medicare!<br> Government hands off our Investment Banks!<br> Government hands off our Armed Forces!<br> Government hands off our Roads!<br> Government hands off Florida!<br> Government hands off the DMV!<br> Yee haw!!!!!</p>

Jared says …

<p>I've been a loyal customer for many years. My family spends about $300/week at your store. </p> <p>I was upset to read the wsj article. Before I even knew that boycotts were organizing, I considered it myself. It showed how out of touch you are from your customer base. </p> <p>Today, instead of driving to whole foods, I went to the farmers market. I haven't been there in years. And, I was reminded how much cheaper buying fresh produce directly from the local farmer can really be. I picked up 5 green peppers, 6 ears of white corn, a loaf of French bread, and a gallon of straight from the farm organic milk. The total was only $7.47! I was really shocked at how little I paid. I've paid more for a single pepper at whole foods.</p> <p>I'll continue to boycott until you resign. After that, I'll probably come back because there are still things I like about whole foods. But, I can promise you that after shopping at the farmers market today, you've still lost a considerable % of my business.</p> <p>So, I know it's not good for your company, but thanks for the reminder that there are cheaper alternatives to whole foods.</p>

Linda says …

<p>I will never shop at Whole Foods again, and I use to love shopping there.</p>

Stan says …

<p>Thanks for a reasoned and thoughtful contribution to the national health care debate. I have long been a WFM customer and will certainly continue in the future. Your clear and consistent remarks stand in stark contrast to the dogma and misinformation coming from the administration. Your irate customers are only expressing their heartfelt belief that public speech is only acceptable when it agrees with their own position.</p>

Matthew Fladell says …

<p>PS check out the story below John Mackey's mea culpa about Leonard Green investing $425 million in WF. Why don't you let Leonard know what you think?<br><a href="mailto:info@leonardgreen.com">info@leonardgreen.com</a><br> PPS Whole Foods is a publicly traded company NASDAQ ticker symbol WFMI. Don't like what management is doing? Buy some stock, it gives you a bunch of rights and a platform for being heard.</p>

Reddy says …

<p>We have been shopping at your store for some time now. My son has allergies and we have been loyal costumers for years. After reading your op/ed, I am looking for other stores to shop. </p> <p>I am a physician and I can tell you that invariably I encountered an insurance burocrat come in between doctor and a patient. Try getting a health insurance with preexisting condition (and I am talking about genetic diseases). What is your solution for that? </p> <p>I am a Nephrologist and I take care of patients with hypertension, diabetes and chronic kidney disease. In America, patients do not receive preventative care as many patients cannot afford health insurance unless you are employed. You cannot get affordable insurance even if you are self employed. Hypertension and diabetes are considered pre existing conditions. Some of my patients are self employed and they cannot get insurance because of 'pre existing condition'. So most do not seek care till it is too late. Chronic kidney disease can be prevented if hypertension and diabetes are identified and treated early on. Without proper care early on, they go on to developing kidney disease and needing dialysis. Ironic thing is the so called 'socialized medicine'(medicare) is applicable after you are on dialysis. That is a waste of money when you can treat and prevent chronic kidney disease. You can save money if these patients can afford health insurance and not be discriminated against due to their pre-existing condition and that is what public option is all about. So, these patients can avoid dialysis and they also can keep working and be productive to the society. Remember, many of these patients stop working after they start dialysis. And you know our (USA) death rates from kidney disease are far worse than European countries which practice 'socialized medicine'. Inadequate predialysis nephrology care was strongly associated with mortality during the first 6 months.</p>

Jim B. says …

<p>Mr. Mackey has the right to speak his mind, however mislead, mistaken or greedy he may be. Unfortunately for Whole Foods, their customers also have the right to hold Mr. Mackey and Whole Foods accountable for his words and I will exercise that right by indefinitely boycotting Whole Foods. It's my hope that the board of Whole Foods will do the right thing and remove Mr. Mackey from his position as CEO and issue an genuine apology to the customers of Whole Foods and to the general public. This country is in desperate need of health care reform and I will not support any company that provides a platform for obstructionists like Mr. Mackey.</p>

Erika says …

<p>Thank you for forcing me to look into local co-ops, farmers markets and eco-farmers, etc. I was obviously too complacent and clueless about where I was shopping and the values of its' creator.</p>

lynn blakey says …

<p>I have no plans to set foot in Whole Foods again. There are other stores, co-ops and farmer's markets where I can shop with pleasure and peace of mind. I can disagree with a company's ceo on some levels and still partake of the business because the balance of the equation is tilted towards my principles but the op-ed piece in the WSJ, even with the unedited version above, has just left me feeling like my money is spent better elsewhere.</p>

San Diego Dave says …

<p>Since you have stores and I assume some corporate offices in Canada, I would like to know how much you actually 'pitch in' toward the Canadian healthcare system that you so vehemently oppose. How much does your company pay in taxes in Canada? And if you disagree so vehemently with that system why did you even set up shop?</p> <p>I too will be one of those who will no longer spend nearly $200 a week in your stores.</p> <p>Just as you have the right to voice your opinion, I too have the right to take my business elsewhere, and I wholeheartedly intend to exercise that right. I will drive the extra short distance to go to Trader Joe's!</p>

Steve says …

<p>Your views on our health care system are great for your fellow rich people, not so great for those of us in the middle and lower classes.</p> <p>You lost my business and that of my family (though my brother, an organic food only caterer, already doesn't shop at what he calls Whole Paycheck Market).</p>

Abby says …

<p>Thank you for your op/ed in the Wall Street Journal and sharing your views on the health care crisis. Living in Southern California, I have many choices as to where I choose to shop for my groceries, so patronizing another healthful grocery store is not a problem at all. I will no longer be shopping at Whole Foods until you are removed the company.</p>

jon bowers says …

<p>Thank you for the informative article, Mr. Mackey. I was unaware that Rush Limbaugh had a brother in the grocery business. We have purchased all of our food at Whole Foods for a number of years. I can assure you that we will never again set foot in a Whole Foods market. Fortunately, we have alternative organic food outlets which may be slightly less convenient but whose management are not right wing nutjobs.</p>

Steve Kelso says …

<p>Simply put: not one more penny from me. Goodbye</p>

Charlotte says …

<p>I am inspired to become a new customer after reading your article. Most grocery stores'indeed, most companies'do not treat their workers so well, and your ideas regarding health care reform are sound and economically viable (not to mention successfully tested). Thanks for your valuable contribition to the health care discussion. My family will shop Whole Foods.</p>

TO'B says …

<p>I was looking forward to your response to the controversy.</p> <p>To put it mildly, I was disappointed. Pathetic and selfish.</p> <p>I loved your stores, but your response has left me no choice but to look elsewhere.</p>

Scott M. says …

<p>I have been a customer of the Union Square store in New York City but will no longer shop there or at other Whole Foods stores. I strongly disagree with your position on health care and resent you using your position as a CEO of a consumer company to broadcast these positions during the current debate. It's of course your right to do so, but considering that the size of your megaphone is directly related to the size of your customer base, I will do what I can do make your broadcast just a tiny bit less powerful by no longer shopping at your stores.</p>

John T says …

<p>Mr Mackey,<br> One more loyal customer who will no longer spend a dime in your stores. I always felt a little guilty not supporting the little guys in the organic food market such as Vitamin Cottage, Sprouts and Sunflower, but I liked WFM and got to know the people working in my local store. Well, now I will feel downright empowered patronizing those stores (and I'm sure I'll save a bunch of money to boot). I feel bad for your employees as it's not their fault you've opened your big mouth and shown your true right-wing colors. I'll have to stop by and tell them to complain loudly to their managers for your ouster. And don't think you can depend on the right-wingers to replace us progressives as customers. They'll be back to shopping for their groceries at Wal-Mart in no time.</p>

Mark says …

<p>What a disappointment. My wife and I have been spending a lot of money at Whole Foods. No more. We will find alternative places to shop. How much more right wing conservatism do we need to suffer before everybody finally comes to the realization that conservatism is a failed ideology? Why can't you get that not everybody has the ability to pick themselves up by their bootstraps and afford healthy organic foods and health insurance, let alone everything else that conservatives believe should be shouldered by the individual, all government be damned. If conservatism had won out over the years, we wouldn't have all the civil rights we enjoy today. We also wouldn't have Social Security and Medicaire, two wildly popular programs, our great interstate road system, and the list goes on. You are obviously not concerned about losing your job and not being able to afford healthcare, as are millions of Americans. Health care is not a right? Let's go back and look at how corporations got to be treated as individuals. Is that a right? Of the corporation, by the corporation, for the corporation? I would have thought that throwing the 'socialism' grenade was beyond someone of your position and stature, Mr. Mackey. You should be ashamed of yourself.</p>

rob says …

<p>lol. free republic has invaded this blog. </p> <p>'¦ try not to tack the people praising you serious. the online mob is a fickle crowd and would turn on you the moment you say the word 'hope'</p>

Habib says …

<p>Another recitation of the standard Republican talking points. Well done, Mr. Mackey.<br> Tort reform? Really? You're seriously going to toss out that old chestnut?<br> You seem to have gained a whole new following, those who previously derided your stores and your customers are suddenly now saying they're going to become loyal Whole Foods shoppers.<br> I'll believe that when I see it.<br> Those who demonized the Whole Foods concept and it's customers for being overpriced, no-better-than Publix brand crap marketed at the out of touch latte sipping tree hugging liberals will no more become your new base than they will suddenly embrace 'socialism' in whatever form the WSJ and op-ed writers like you tell them.<br> First the Wild Oats debacle, now this. I wonder what continuing value the Whole Foods Board of Directors sees you adding to the company's future.</p>

Dan says …

<p>Our office represented a child whose forearm was amputated because of the negligence of a doctor on the day she was born. So now in addition to having to spend the rest of her life wearing a prosthetic, she gets to read op ed articles alleging she is to blame for our current health care mess. Nice job.</p>

JO says …

<p>The very fact that your essay is on this site is simply further evidence of how you use your position as CEO to promote your opinion. (Emails from the company suggesting that Whole Foods harbors a Whole Range of political views strikes me as irrelevant '¦ there are probably people working in the store who would like to a join a union, too; so what?) Our boycott is evidence of how we patronize merchants who don't plunge into the middle of a highly sensitive political debate. Should food be politicized? Do you also have Republican views on, say, government oversight of food safety, regulation of insecticides, packaging, minimum wage, maternity leave'¦the list goes on, and on, and on. But my grocery list doesn't.</p>

jevon says …

<p>Mr. Mackey'¦ to be blunt'¦ you're full of it.</p> <p>I can't believe some of you are praising the drivel he wrote. 'Tort reform' and the evils of 'socialized medicine''¦ pure right-wing talking points. That nonsense about 'High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) takes the word 'ridiculous ' to new heights.</p> <p>While I admire you and Whole Foods for being generous with you're HDHP, many other companies are not so magnanimous with their plans. The sad reality is that unless you are single and healthy, HDHPs tend to be a financial burden for individuals who are low wage earners. Don't even think about being pregnant or having a 'pre-existing condition.' These plans are the financial kiss of death!</p> <p>Mr. Mackey'¦ we live in a free country and I respect your rights to have an opinion. However when a 'Big Business' shill such as yourself starts passing on claptrap as facts, I'm going to call BULL$#iT!</p>

CJ says …

<p>After reading some of the above blogs, it sounds like you are going to get a new type of shopper that will come by and show their support for your views, but at the same time are losing many, many long time loyal customers. This may give your stores a more rural Wal-mart ambience, because if you look at the very vocal opponents of healthcare reform, they look like your typical Wal-mart shopper.I do not think they will abide your prices for very long. I personally will miss Whole Foods. It was more than just shopping, it was an enjoyable experience. But I am not going to give you any more of my money. For 15 years I drove 20 minutes to another neighborhood to go to Whole Foods, then in March 2009 you opened a new store 2 minutes away and I was there 3 times on opening day and continue to go every day or two. I am done with that, you don't care about the common man.</p>

Bob S. says …

<p>Easy for you to say as you sit on your throne. Too little too late. Enjoy your boycott.</p>

Timmy Veith says …

<p>Thank you for your insightful and fearless words. Being able to speak your mind is one of our only freedoms left in America, and you have done so without fear of how it will effect you or your business. As long as you remain CEO of Whole Foods, I will be bringing my grocery list to your stores. </p> <p>It's wonderful to hear what successful business do to provide ridiculously affordable health insurance to their employees. Whole Foods as well as Safeway Grocery stores have done excellent jobs in providing these benefits and I commend you for that.</p> <p>Keep spreading truth!<br> Timmy Veith</p>

Aaron says …

<p>Mr. Mackey,</p> <p>I read your WSJ op/ed, and I was very impressed. To be honest, I am not surprised to hear such insightful and practical solutions from the CEO of a successful business. But I was a little surprised to hear it from Whole Foods. Pleasantly surprised, to be more accurate. I was also impressed that your plan includes a means of voluntary funding to assist people in need. Freedom of choice and market-based solutions are not 'right wing garbage' as some have suggested. These are the principles of freedom, common sense, and capitalism ' and no party, culture, lifestyle, or region has a monopoly on these virtues. </p> <p>I am sorry to hear that customers are threatening to boycott your stores. However, I think that your thoughtful article has truly shown that Whole Foods is a place where rational and compassionate minds thrive. I think you will find that this attention will attract a new interest in your store which should balance (or possibly exceed) the loss of your customer base.</p> <p>I believe that America is thirsty for corporate responsibility in our businesses and in our government. It is my hope that companies like Whole Foods will continue to speak out and advocate individual liberty and responsibility, fiscal responsibility in government, and rational market-based solutions. Thank you for providing the first of what I hope will be a continued series of corporate wake-up calls to our elected leaders.</p> <p>AMB</p>

Philip says …

<p>While you raise some interesting points, you went over the line with the foolish 'socalism' references and other tired right-wing scare tactics. I was a frequent Whole Foods shopper and will now shop elsewhere. I've talked to many others who will do the same. Buh-bye.</p>

Bo S. says …

<p>Great article! I am new American Citizen, Conservative who lived under socialism and socialist, single payer, nationalized health care system before, and could tell you that it does not work. Most of the time to get help we had to pay out of pocket for real healthcare. My father(in Poland) who went into comma after having heart attack at age 63 was denied MRI (under nationalized healthcare) because according to his attending physician he was too old. So for those of you here on this blog who think that nationalized healthcare will give them full and good coverage are simply naive and uninformed.<br> Mr. Mackey, loved the Margaret Thatcher quote, and the ones who say that it is ironic that you put her quote since she presided over UK with nationalized healthcre are simply ignorant of history. UK instituted nationalized healthcare in the 1946 and since it is became the largest employer in UK, therefore people who are against it cannot get rid of it.<br> Another great quote is from Winston Churchill:<br> 'Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.'</p>

Tom O says …

<p>I was really looking forward to your reply.</p> <p>I was truly disappointed in your response. Pathetic and selfish.</p> <p>I loved your stores. I can't in good conscience step into any one of them again.</p>

martin katz says …

<p>To leave healthcare to the tender mercy of insurance co's, who have motivation to reduce coverage and deny claims, in the hope that somehow competitition rather than collusion will occur flies in the face of history.<br> Social reforms have historically had to be legislated because Companies care only about one thing. The same cost/competition line has been used for everything from child labor, minimum wage, FDA regs and food inspection.<br> Mr Mackey, for shame. You hide behind your fat salary and hope that the goodwill of insurance companies will solve all problems.<br> I will continue to buy organic, but not at Whole Foods.</p>

Suzanne K says …

<p>Thank you for expressing an opinion that your likely customer base would find disagreeable.</p> <p>I have only shopped at Whole Foods when I couldn't get the time to go to the place I normally go. Whole Foods is closer, but I dislike the emphasis on organics, green products, and haphazard store layout (things difficult to find).</p> <p>I WILL be shopping at Whole Foods regularly now.</p>

Ben F says …

<p>I am a formerly loyal Whole Foods shopper who will not patronize your store again. I have other options, and I plan to exercise them. I will also go out of my way to inform my friends about your position on health care reform.</p>

R. Johnson says …

<p>I thought this was the United States of America where we have earned the freedom of speech. The people who would bad-mouth me for NOT boycotting Whole Foods (my favorite grocery store) would prefer that the only speech that's free is the speech they agree with. Shame on Them!</p>

Rich says …

<p>The tone of the article was not set by the title, changed or not, but by the Thatcher quote at the head. Cries of 'Socialism' are meant to frighten people into mistrust of 'The Government.' Slap a label on something, make people afraid, and try and convince them that only you can save them.</p> <p>Mr. Mackey, you were asked to provide an op ed. You were not required to write it. You chose to write it. When the CEO or an organization presents his views, he speaks for that organization. Could you have written that alternative medicine and organic foods are simple profit vehicles and have no consumer benefits and not have that affect your business? Can a person become a CEO or an organization and be that naive? </p> <p>You said what you wanted to say. You spoke for your company, like it or not. Your company now has to live with the consequences of your words. I intend to share your article with everyone I know who shops at Whole Foods and let them make up their own minds as to whether they will continue to remain customers. I know several already who have said they will not. </p> <p>This should please you. It's democracy and free markets at work.</p>

Barbara says …

<p>Many responsible people working for minimum wage can't afford health coverage. That doesn't make them irresponsible. When one of your Core Values at Whole Foods is 'Caring About Our Communities &amp; Our Environment' how can you neglect to care for those in our communities who cannot afford to purchase healthcare? The hypocrisy it too great. I can no longer shop at Whole Foods.</p>

John Singleton says …

<p>I like how the moderators left so many of the so-called 'praises' for your stance remain, I for one believe half of them to be fake or made by those who cannot even afford to shop at your store with the same frequency as those of us who are able to do so but no longer will. I believe you will feel the power of the impending boycott soon, remember numbers don't lie'¦</p>

Jim Noble says …

<p>Gutsy op-ed piece, realizing that much of your clientele will take indignant offense, having been thoroughly indoctrinated in the 'government knows best, and loves me and will take care of me' philosophy.<br> Too many have a falsely skewed idea of the meaning of a 'right' as opposed to a need or want. The purpose ' the ONLY purpose of government ' is to secure and protect our rights. There is no Constitutional authority for the federal government to extend itself beyond those limits. A right is a fundamental part of one's humanity; whether you wish to say 'god-given' or 'inherent' or whatever. A right, as such, cannot require the participation of another individual. Thus one needs food, shelter, clothing, medical care etc, but does not have an inherent -right- to those things if the provision of those things must be taken by force from another. One has a right to do whatever one wishes to do with his life so long as he does not initiate force against another human being. Note that 'initiate' does not preclude defending oneself against aggression by another.<br> However, to claim any of these -needs- or -wants- as rights is to take by force (and the ultimate force in this society is government) from another. Government has no resources of its own; it can only distribute to some that which it has taken by force from some others. And, of course, much of what is taken mysteriously sticks to the walls of the bureaucracies involved, since what eventually comes out is far less than what went in.<br> Your well-reasoned approach to supplying the health care needs of this country is well worth considering, and I applaud you for the effort.<br> I'll not make any childish promises to patronize or avoid Whole Foods; your right to present your opinions is far more important than business considerations.<br> Thank you.</p>

Creator says …

<p>Please don't give us donations, we need doctor's visits and medications for our illnesses and treatment when something major happens. </p> <p>Donations are just modern-day indulgences. They're a way for rich people to pay away their guilt. My last boss wouldn't provide affordable health insurance (to be fair, the insurance company wouldn't provide it to him) or a decent salary to his employees but he never hesitated to send a $1000 check to help out the local PBS station or food bank. </p> <p>We don't need donations. We need a better option than what's available now. What you've proposed ain't it, buddy.</p>

Todd Key says …

<p>So you really think that yours is an unbiased opinion? Do you actually believe that you can understand both sides of the issue without the help of experts and specialists? If you were a researcher or scientist you would know that your argument is completely flawed, but unfortunately all you have done is inflame the uneducated masses. Just because your voice is louder than those around you and your reach is extensive, this does make it the voice of reason. By your standards my influence is small, but I have time on my side and when many voices speak as one they overcome any single noise.<br> Whole foods no more'¦.Long live Sprouts!</p>

fishrobe says …

<p>As a canadian, I love it when I hear americans talk about how much we hate our 'socialized' healthcare, when a recent poll showed that over 80% of canadians want there to be LESS privatization in our health system.</p> <p>Get your facts straight. Even the remaining %16 or so of people who want some privatization, don't want a 'free market' system as there is in the US, and the numbers are the same for EVERY OTHER industrialized country, all of which have some form of universal healthcare. If your system is so good, why do you think that is?</p>

Joe C says …

<p>'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?'</p> <p>Well, thanks for the empathy, John! You're a great American!</p> <p>I don't think there is a decent human being with a soul that would deny any person food, clothing or health care. Obviously, you see things differently.</p> <p>If I could use one word that would describe what has the most potential to destroy our Country it would be 'greed'.</p>

Denise H. says …

<p>I strongly support your right as an American to voice your opinion on this issue.</p> <p>I also strongly support my right as an American to refuse to support a company whose CEO espouses these views. I've been a loyal customer, but will shop elsewhere from now on. I can't in good conscience support a business that is actively involved in influencing the defeat of legislation that is so critical for the American people.</p> <p>Regretfully, good-bye.</p>

RM says …

<p>Sorry, I must throw my hat in the 'you've lost my business' ring. I can lamentably no longer support your stores. </p> <p>Oh and your assertion that all developed nations with 'socialized' medicine ration healthcare is completely off-base and missing the point. We have healthcare rationing in this country right now! It's rationed by corporations (I assume you understand corporate interests as a CEO). A for-profit system when it comes to people's health and lives is just plain wrong.</p>

scott ray becker says …

<p>Mr. Mackey-</p> <p>You have embarrssed the company you work for. OH sure, you may have help start the company, but now you work at the courtesy of the board. I believe they will fire you for your indiscretions.</p> <p>First, you lie about your internet posts concerning Wild Oats and now you quote Margaret Thatcher in a deliberate provocation at your major demographic. You may be a millionaire, but you are a fool. </p> <p>You can quote me.</p>

JaniceW says …

<p>I will no longer shop at any Whole Foods Market. When your livelihood is 'other peoples' money', you should not write op-eds against reform that will benefit all U.S. citizens. </p> <p>Don't you realize that the 'little' people, low income earners are many of your customers? Many of your employees?</p> <p>Fortunately, we are middle income; however, I will no longer be one of your customers.</p> <p>You provide your employees with insurance, how much is their deductible? Can they call a cardiologist if they are having chest pains, or, do they have to WAIT on a referral from their primary care provider BEFORE they can schedule an appointment with the cardiologist that YOUR HMO say they can see?</p> <p>You stated what you wanted the naive to read, the well-informed can read between your lines.</p> <p>Health care reform will pass!</p>

kbeemer says …

<p>Business 101, be apolitical. You wrote it, now you live with it. Not to swift a move for a leader in commerce!</p>

Aaron Embry says …

<p>Healthy foods, a balanced lifestyle, and plenty of exercise, and we still have that nagging problem of the PRE-EXISTING condition that forces self-employed artists like myself to work a deadend 9-5 as a Team Member and if I quit, according to your suggestion, I'm supposed to rely on charitable tax-payers to fill in a donation box on their 1040 !!!???<br> You made some good points on the Part, but the bad ones show your disregard for the Whole.</p> <p>Viva Farmer's Markets!</p>

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