Whole Foods Founder John Mackey : Reactionary on Health Care Reform

Whole Foods founder John Mackey speaks out against health care reform in Wall Street Journal

…we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction — toward less government control and more individual empowermentWhole Foods founder John Mackey.

By Aptoklas / August 12, 2009

The typical Whole Foods customer tends to be educated, liberal and urbane and I would venture to guess supportive of President Obama and his attempt to reform health care so the richest country on earth no longer has a health care system ranked 37 in terms of coverage and efficiency. It is cruel that we are the only industrialized country on earth that does not mandate universal healthcare coverage for our citizens.

Whole Foods advertises their values as including:

Caring about our communities & our environment

Whole Foods does not care about the members of its communities who need true health care reform. It comes as a shock that John Mackey, Co-Founder and CEO of Whole Foods has an OpEd in todays Wall Street Journal titled: The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare

He offers talking points straight out of the GOP and Health Insurance lobby play book such as:

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 move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction — toward less government control and more individual empowerment.

He in essence recommends high deductible policies i.e. $2,500-5,000 with HSA’s. He also advocates the end of consumers having the rights to file lawsuits.

He also states that state laws should be curtailed that mandate the type of coverage Insurance Companies should be required to offer. Pray tell what mandates is he referring to? Cancer treatments, mammograms?

Whole Foods is known to be anti-union. Their founder has now thrown down the gauntlet and shown them to be anti-progressive and frankly a threat to the health and well being of millions who do not have health insurance and those who could barely afford it. So much for being a “Holistic Caring Company.”

It’s up to you to decide whether to frequent this store but remember, their superficial catering to liberal sensibilities is enriching those opposed to all you hold sacred.

Up to you if you want to be taken for a sucker.

Feel free to contact them:

U.S. National Offices
World Headquarters
Whole Foods Market, Inc.
550 Bowie Street
Austin, TX 78703-4644
512.477.5566 voicemail
512.482.7000 fax

Source / Daily Kos

For previous Rag Blog articles on Whole Foods Market, the increasingly reactionary politics and policies embraced by founder John Mackey and the increasingly conventional nature of the “organic” giant’s inventory, go here.

The Rag Blog

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16 Responses to Whole Foods Founder John Mackey : Reactionary on Health Care Reform

  1. Melissa says:

    I completely disagree with your response to John Mackey. As a Whole Foods shopper who fits your description of the typical one, I think you are off your rocker and need to face reality as John is.

  2. Anonymous says:

    @melissa, i agree.

    part of the problem here is bloggers reporting another blogs that copy another and so on. it’s like the 24 cable news where each hour they report on what the person the hour before said. our news is ending up like a bad game of telephone. *blogger quit blogging about other blogs*

    john mackey is NOT speaking against reform, he is just presenting different options than a single payer. my understand that a single payer isn’t an option and only a public plan is. so how did this blog and all the other get the title wrong, and not even link to the orginal posting in the WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052970204251404574342170072865070.html

    @rag blog. i find you thoughts poorly thought out. things like “[whole foods founder]frankly a threat to the health” is completely idiotic. really?? somebody that promotes healthy eating a threat? come on!, he’s trying to fix the problem at the root of it. good for him that’s he’s making money doing it.

    maybe you should read the WSJ article and decide for yourself if his points make sense. i don’t see why we couldn’t use some of his ideas along with a public option (to keep the corps honest about pricing) to start solving the health problem.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, while Mackey deserves lots of very real credit for making somewhat better food choices available to more consumers, his reputation as an employer isn’t so sterling. By some accounts, Mackey’s personnel policies are quite dictatorial. I would guess that as a businessman, his opinions on health care reform might be more tinted by concerns about threats to the bottom line than offering more options to employees. I have no idea why the author of this blog article “ventures to guess” that Mackey is supporting of President Obama in any way; is there any evidence of this?

    Then again, as a self-employed person paying for my own “insurance” (or what passes for it, once all the exclusions are noted!), I can’t afford to shop at Mr. Mackey’s stores.

    I would like to have a public option, even such as exists via an insurance “pool” in auto insurance, available for health care. I might or might not find it suitable for my needs and my pocketbook. But I would expect it to help stop skyrocketing insurance costs and, hopefully, to promote the kind of wellness options that can build a healthier overall population, reducing the costs of illness in more ways than financially.

    As for imaginging that there is anything on the table right now that’s going to fundamentally impact our health care system — fuggeddaboudit!

  4. After reading the comments, I guess I’ll have to do some more researching.

    However, based on what I just read in the post, I’d say this guy is completely off-base in his remarks.

    A higher deductible – $2500 to $5,000; you might as well pay for your health-care as you need it. Save the premium; put away $2500 to $5,000 as fast as you can and do your best to prevent getting sick or injured by caring for yourself properly.

    Granted, there are frivolous malpractice law-suits, but some are very real and if you trust your life and body to a doctor, I like the fact he/she has to be very careful not only because he/she has sworn to heal the patient, but also having the promise of a law-suit to back up any carelessness, will give them a little more encouragement.

    My friend had cancer surgery when she was 47; her doctor accidentally cut the main artery in her pelvic area, and she bled to death on the operating table.

    Her husband chose NOT to sue because the doctor happened to be a close friend; however, not everybody can be ‘close friends’ with their doctor.

    I find it hard to believe this owner would speak so negatively toward the health-care industry; since I have no way of finding out what his exact words were and no link to any public statement he might have made, I have to give a margin of error to the report.

    Nevertheless, if this individual has gone public with these specific recommendations and suggestions, I think he needs to get a quick education from someone who knows more about the health-care industry, since he clearly has his head buried inside a watermelon, and isn’t living in the real world.

    I would surely wonder about his ‘whole foods’ market; it might be time to find another grocery store………

    Since The Rag Blog usually posts articles that are 100% verifiable, I’m sure they did plenty of reading and researching before they put this post here. They are not prone to posting ‘garbage’, but more often find out information that is sorely lacking on MSM web-sites and blogs.

    I think I’ll trust Thorne and Richard to tell the ‘whole truth’, and nothing but the truth.

    After a year of following this blog, I’d give it a five-star rating for accuracy and timely reporting.

  5. Just a note to that link to WSJ – I couldn’t find it; maybe it’s been updated and replaced????

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am currently an unemployed architect. After a freak car accident (a truck of teenagers rear-ended me), I had to have 3 surgeries to correct my spine. I am now paralyzed from my legs down, the two year recovery has been very long, and the firm I worked at has since closed. I have over 250,000 in medical bills to pay and work and save as I may, it will take me a lifetime to pay them all back.

    If I were living in Canada or England, I would have at least have had the peace of mind to recover faster. Our healthcare system does not work. And for a company that ostensibly supportssustainability, it is ironic that Whole Foods would be such an unsustainable status quo.

    Please join me at the Whole Foods Protest at the Whole Foods flagship store at 6th St. and Lamar in Austin, Texas. It will be held at 12:00 noon this Sunday, August 16th. For more information, go here:


  7. Anonymous says:

    John has no right to his opinion. Does he think this is still a free country?? He just better fall in line with the rest of the sheeples.

    Obaaaaama Obaaaama

    Where’s my free stuff? Make those ‘rich’ give the sheeples more free stuff, even stuff I don’t even know what it is, I waaaant it.

    Hey, we have a right to free healthcare, affordable housing, mass transit, food stamps, government checks, it’s all right there in the Constitution, right under Cap and Trade. Just don’t ask me to pay for any of it, I only want to be on the receiving end.

  8. Anonymous says:

    For what it’s worth I think health care is a challenging social problem; some Americans seem to like the Canadian system because it keeps a healthy workforce in place at minimal cost. It might be good for health care to be completely free of government control. With no control anyone could practice medicine. The outcome of such freedom would result in improved accessibility, affordability, and a better work force for employers. In the 60’s while I lived in Texas there were many home births, and many non-licensed physicians. No matter how poor you were, you could always find someone to provide health care. (Much of this I later found while living in Malaysia) Some of these ad hoc “Docs” had many patients and great reputations; some didn’t and some got into trouble as a result of botches. The big thing it was totally sustainable, and didn’t bankrupt many people. I think the current problem with the US and Canad is we are a very confused and “mixed bag” of right, left, government control and over-taxation.

  9. Steve Russell says:

    This whole debate about health care has THE RIGHT, not the left, ignoring the iron laws of the market.

    1. Every dollar that goes to an insurance company is a dollar spent on health care that does not go to a provider but rather a preventer.

    2. When single payer fans point out the satisfaction with Medicare and VA, the right wing response is “but they cost too much.” Sure they do, because the systems contain ONLY OLD PEOPLE AND THE ALREADY INJURED. The other iron law of the market is that the broader the pool, the lower the cost. Young healthy people subsidize elderly sick people and get the same in their turn–that’s a social contract to live with!

    It is by ignoring these two iron laws of the market that the fans of the “free market” manage to arrive at the highest cost health care system with the poorest objective results among all industrial nations.

  10. Mariann says:

    Happy — what you say about high deductible health insurance is exactly what is now available to self-employed Americans. It’s called a “Health Savings Account”, and here’s how it works: 1. you have to have a savings account in which you deposit tax-deferred dollars that may only be paid for specific health-related expenses. 2) you have to have insurance, and the higher the deductible, the lower the cost. Most people choose a high deductible ($5K), with most folks allowed to put away about $3K in their HS account and a “maximum” out-of-pocket health expense of about $6K for 2010.

    That does not count money spent for vigtamins, dietary supplements, gym memberships, etc.. I am fortunate that my insurance plan provides for an annual well-woman exam and mammogram; that is the extent of “wellness” covered.

    So, unless I suffer a catastrophic illness or injury, I pay for all my own heatlh care and wellness expenses. I may use HSA funds for other expenses only by paying tax and, in some cases, a penalty. This is called “insurance.” The only advantage to it, other than having catastrophic coverage, is that at the present time my HSA account is paying a slightly better interest rate than money market accounts.

    File it under “Rip-off’s Believe It or NOT!”

  11. richard jehn says:

    dospesentas – You are a liar. No comment you have made on this blog has ever been removed. What exactly is wrong with you people? You come to this blog where the ideas expressed are diametrically opposed to what you believe. Why do you argue here? We do not listen – what you say simply has no meaning, no weight. Go to the right-wing blogs where what you say will fit.

  12. Craig says:

    To Steve Russell and the rest of the anti-insurance company crow. Health insurance companies have profits of 4% or LESS (Google makes 20%) .. that means most of the money they collect pays for healthcare. A company like Wellpoint has enormous revenues so 4% profit is a lot of money. A grocery store makes about 4% so why don’t you boycott all the greedy grocery stores too. In the last five years, Wellpoint made $12 billion and PAID $6 billion in federal income taxes (this doesn’t include state and payroll taxes paid). Companies like Wellpoint actually attempt to control costs (hence their 4% profit) as opposed to the bottomless liabilities of Medicare/Medicaid. There are millions of un-needed procedures performed by doctors under Medicare .. its a buffet-style healthcare system.

    And to the unemployed architech .. I sympathize with you but if your house burns down and you don’t have insurance you are out of luck as well. Tragically, a high deductible ($20-25,000 deductible) policy is only about $60 bucks a quarter – $240 per year. You situation is not a healthcare problem – its a problem for anyone who chooses not to insure their car/home/life etc.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Excuse me…but isn’t the whole concept of “insurance” socialist?

  14. Pollyanna says:

    So what if “the whole concept of” anything is socialist? Does capitalism appear to be working real well in your life?

    To me it’s more accurate to say that the whole concept of insurance is a capitalistic scam: I am betting that I will get sick enough to offset the costs of my recovery; the premiums I pay underwrite care for those who win that wager. Any profit generated by the insurance company is above and beyond administrative costs by definition. Exactly what makes it worth 4%, or 10%, or 20%? Some corporate logo?

    Please. I would rather put my full faith and credit in the USA!

    Socialism? You people wouldn’t recognize socialism if it bit you in the hemorrhoids!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I support John Mackey on this. I am opposed to more government intervention in our lives. I’m going to drive to a whole foods store to buy groceries today!

  16. Anonymous says:

    I think John Mackey brought some extremely good ideas to discuss regarding healthcare reform. He does not deserve this backlash. I was at a Whole Foods today and it was packed which I took as a sign of overwhelming support for Mr. Mackey. I plan to shop at WF every day this next week.

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