The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare

Mr. John Mackey

Mr. John Mackey

  Calls to boycott Whole Foods Market are growing louder and more sophisticated following a Wall Street Journal opinion article by the company’s chief executive, John Mackey, in which he criticized President Obama’s health care plan and offered his own alternative.

Mackey’s article first prompted individuals to threaten taking their business elsewhere. But now the Progressive Review, an online alternative publication, is calling for a formal boycott, and campaigns are popping up all over, including on Facebook, a popular online social networking site.

Protesters are hoping a boycott will cut into the success of Whole Foods, the 10th largest food and drug store in the U.S., which reported sales of $1.8 billion for the last quarter, a 2 percent increase from the previous quarter.

As of Saturday, the Whole Foods Internet forum had more than 4,000 postings. One commenter thanked Mackey for revealing his political views.

“While it was a horrible business move, it was a great courtesy,” a commenter identified as boycottwf wrote. “Now, I know that my dollars spent at whole foods are going to fund your misguided conservative views.”

The commenter added, “Until you publicly apologize to the nation and pledge that you will provide better benefits to your employees, I will not spend another dime at your store.”

Another commenter identified as Betrayed, who claims to have been a customer for nearly 20 years, said, “I was so shocked to read Mr. Mackey’s horrible, horrible opinion in the WSJ. I hope this severely hurts his profits. His customer base is mostly liberal Democrats who will, like me, be horrified at what we have been supporting all this time.”

Phone messages left Saturday seeking a comment from Whole Foods were not immediately returned.

In the opinion article, published Wednesday, Mackey offered eight reforms for the health care system and outlined Whole Foods’ employee health insurance policy.

** Mackey”s Health Care Plan**

• Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). The combination of high-deductible health insurance and HSAs 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. We also provide up to $1,800 per year in additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees’ 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 worker satisfaction.

• Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair.

• 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 insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.

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

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

• Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many people know the total cost of their last doctor’s visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us?

• Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.

• Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Whole Foods pays 100 percent of the premiums, but not the deductibles, for all employees who work 30 hours or more per week, or about 89 percent of its workers, and gives each employee $1,800 per year in “health-care dollars” that can be used for health and wellness expenses, according to the article.

Among the recommendations he made: equalizing tax laws for health insurance benefits; repealing all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines; repealing government mandates regarding who they must cover; and enacting tort reform and Medicare reform.

Mackey argued that health care is not a right, noting that neither the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution guarantees it.

“While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?” he wrote.

“Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges,” he continued. Isn’t that what Obama has been asking for this whole time………People to volunteer.

Mackey’s opinion article started with a quote from former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

Mackey’s article appeared to be consistent with the views of dozens of doctors and business executives who have weighed in on the controversial bill. But Mackey’s comments have drawn a much harsher reaction and is being compared to an “organized campaign to defeat a single payer health insurance system.”         Why is it that when someone OTHER than Obama’s Dream Team offers a reform outline he is being Compared to an organized campaign to defeat a single payer health insurance system? Is it that President Obama isn’t MAN enough to listen to a better point of view? Just the thought of not ending up with a single payer health insurance drives the Obama Team into a frenzy.

Yet Mackey did draw supporters as well on the forum who said they would start shopping at Whole Foods because of Mackey’s article. A commenter identified as Guns & Liberty wrote that he will start shopping there to “support this man who understands the real needs of this country and it isn’t paying for doctors for a bunch of lazy smelly hippies who need a bath.”

***If you agree with Mackey’s eight reforms for Health Care system sent this page to everyone you know.

**** Let Mr. Mackey know how you feel on ( Facebook) 


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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m so glad I found this site…Keep up the good work I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog. Thanks,

    A definite great read…

    – Bill Bartmann

  2. This site rocks!

  3. Cool site, love the info.

  4. Thanks for the great article.

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