Whole Foods and Health Care

I have tried to avoid the health care debate up to this point. Neither side of the argument has really captured me yet. Large areas of our health care system are despicable. The massive turnout at last week’s fee clinic in Los Angeles indicate something is rotten in Denmark. Clearly, the problem is too large to ignore any longer. We shouldn’t rush out any bill just to say that we have something. That could hurt more than it could help. How we will pay for this plan and how much families will actually save are my main concerns, not “death panels” or big brother telling me what doctor I have to choose. That is not to say I’m against market-based solutions, I’m just not ruling out any proposal, government intervention or no, that solves our problems appropriately. No, I’m content to listen to other people’s opinions at this point.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal last week expressing his thoughts on health care reform. In short, Mackey does not agree with Obama’s health care plan. Mackey clearly articulates his arguments against Obamacare, citing funding problems, possible health care rationing, and finding the root cause of America’s health problems as problems the Presidential health plan does not address. Something we haven’t heard a lot of above the shouting, Mackey provides his alternative health care reform. All in all, the article was inoffensive, especially compared to some other comments floating around, and had a few sound options. At the very least it has furthered the debate on health care. Not everyone agrees however.

The CEO’s market-based health care plan has caused some outrage among Whole Foods shoppers. Some shoppers are so upset over Mackey’s editorial they have said they would boycott his stores. ABC news picked up the story this past Friday.

from ABC News:

“I’m boycotting [Whole Foods] because all Americans need health care,” said Lent, 33, who used to visit his local Whole Foods “several times a week.”

“While Mackey is worried about health care and stimulus spending, he doesn’t seem too worried about expensive wars and tax breaks for the wealthy and big businesses such as his own that contribute to the deficit,” said Lent.

Can we guess the rest of Mackey’s views simply because he hasn’t written an article about them? Certainly not. Health care is the issue that is in the news now, this is what gets the most coverage. Simply because Mackey did not choose to express those now, does not mean he must believe what Mr. Lent suggests he does.

Another woman believed Mackey should only make his views public if Whole Foods shoppers agree with them.

from ABC News:

Christine Taylor, a 34-year-old New Jersey shopper, vowed never to step foot in another Whole Foods again.

“I will no longer be shopping at Whole Foods,” Taylor told ABCNews.com. “I think a CEO should take care that if he speaks about politics, that his beliefs reflect at least the majority of his clients.”

Are we back to here already? I thought we left all that rhetoric behind when Bush stepped out of the White House. Well the far-right does not have a copy-right on the with-us-or-against-us mentality. Yes, there are certain opinions people ought to keep to themselves in polite company, but there was nothing offensive about Mackey’s argument. Maybe Ms. Taylor forgot, but as Reason pointed out, Mackey has supported the legalization of marijuana in the past. I wonder how that jives with the majority of his clients?

God forbid that someone try to advance debate on health care in this country. May this be a lesson to you Mr. CEO. Don’t voice your opinion unless you poll everyone you serve to make sure they will agree with it.

Hey, I wonder if all these people boycotting realize they are using a market-based form of protest of a market-based opinion on health care? Drink up the sweet irony.

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4 Responses

  1. if you spent $30 MILLION a day every single day for 2000 years it would still not equal to obama’s $23.7 TRILLLION in financial bailouts

    … the main reasons why people get poorer are because of higher taxes and inflation.

  2. Hey Derek, I was wondering, what’s your take on this WSJ piece on Maine’s Dirigo Choice?

  3. @d.eris

    Dirigo has been somewhat of a failure. Because we function on a balanced budget, new taxes had to be attempted to pay for the program. These taxes, on beer, wine, and soda, were overwhelmingly rejected by voters.

    The fact that so few people chose this public option and it has been so expensive can’t be ignored. Be it a PR problem, the plan just can’t entice people away from MaineCare or having nothing, or what have you, Dirigo Choice just hasn’t worked in Maine.

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