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Health Care Reform - Full Article

by John Mackey, August 14, 2009 | Permalink [link]

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.

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Lifted From John Mackeys Blog Here: [link]



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7 comments

21 Aug 2009 @ 05:09 by vaxen : Ergo paenitentiam age;
Beatus, qui legit et qui audiunt verba prophetiae et servant ea, quae in ea scripta sunt; tempus enim prope est...

[link]  



21 Aug 2009 @ 18:39 by a-d : How 'bout some
translation here, or do "we" feel the need to talk over people's heads??? ^!^....
Not Everybody is a Roman Catholic Liturgy practisioner (like --for instance-- Judge Scalia pretends to be!...)

Too big of a subject here...but what the hell is WRONG with this "pic"???? " 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."

Too much 'Wrong-Thinking' in just this one little section of the article to even begin to discuss!...

A System built to follow the law of the most EVIL, has nothing RIGHT in it !...can never be made right with just some adjustment here, some there!.... = hacking the Branches!....

HOW 'bout just blowing it up or let it implode... as it WILL... that would be 'Striking the Root'!  



22 Aug 2009 @ 02:17 by vaxen : ;)
"Rather than increase governmental spending and control, what we need to do is address the root causes of disease and poor health." - John Mackey  


22 Aug 2009 @ 04:59 by a-d : Yeahhh, I hear
I know from my own Common Sense that ALL Living beings (INLCUDING PLANTS!... have their /our INTRINSIC RIGHT to HEALTY UN-ADULURERATED FOOD & WATER, SHELTER, HEALTH -preserving (= H-CARE )actions, Ways of Living etc), CLOTHING, Peaceful and nurturing relationships (with all other (living ) things (in) their/our environment ... Cars & personal Computers are the most stupid example of "Intrinsic Things"

a⋅dul⋅ter⋅ate
  /v. əˈdʌltəˌreɪt; adj. əˈdʌltərɪt, -təˌreɪt/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [v. uh-duhl-tuh-reyt; adj. uh-duhl-ter-it, -tuh-reyt] Show IPA verb, -at⋅ed, -at⋅ing, adjective

–verb (used with object)
1.to debase or make impure by adding inferior materials or elements; use cheaper, inferior, or less desirable goods in the production of (any professedly genuine article): to adulterate food.

–adjective
2. adulterated.
3. adulterous (def. 1).

Origin: 1580–90; < L adulterātus mixed, adulterated (ptp. of adulterāre), equiv. to ad- ad- + -ulter (perh. comb. form of alter other; see alter ) + -ātus -ate 1

Related forms: a⋅dul⋅ter⋅a⋅tor, noun

Main Entry: adulterated

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: debased or dirty

Synonyms: attenuated, blended, contaminated, corrupt, defiled, degraded, depreciated, deteriorated, devalued, diluted, dissolved, impaired, mixed, polluted, tainted, thinned, vitiated, watered down, weakened

WHO wants be an Adult???? Any one????.... *!*.....We were all forced into it! Adulthood as in: "...blended, contaminated, corrupt, defiled, degraded, depreciated, deteriorated, devalued, diluted, dissolved, impaired, mixed, polluted, tainted, thinned, vitiated, watered down, weakened..."
THAT IS the state our OPRESSORS wants us to be and remain in!... anything else is not PROFITABLE to THEM and we would become too powerful if left to be INTRINCALLY what God made us to be!...Is it a wonder Health Care is not allowed to be around for real?!?

Antonyms: clean, moral, virtuous.  



22 Aug 2009 @ 14:54 by vaxen : Manteca!
And on and on we go. Who is kidding who? Who makes the drugs controls the sheeple and that includes their good shepherds too! Must be the wolf. Little red riding hood had best be aware of all 'sides.' Trust no one...  


23 Aug 2009 @ 19:15 by koravya : Article
by Matt Taibbi
"Sick and Wrong: How Washington is screwing up health care reform and
why it may take a revolt to fix it."
in
Rolling Stone
Issue 1086: September 3, 2009.

Best Wishes,
Keep well and don't hang around sick people.
Peace to the brothers and the sisters.
Washington politicos and Insurance companies
are all part of the same cake.
As a humanitarian, I would say that all humans
have an intrinsic right to food.
I would include clothing and at least some basic shelter.
This does not extend to owning homes and computers.
(Perhaps the concept of "owning" a home
needs some cultural revision, since the whole paradigm
exists and operates within the context of the debt currency system
and who knows how and has the opportunity to manipulate it for their
advantage, at the dire detrimantal expense of others.)


Voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges is
a mythical ideal which currently does not exist.
Might as well talk about voluntary and mutually beneficial
market exchanges between a hungry wolf and a cornered lamb.
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are amenable,
and perhaps long overdue for major revisions if this land of the free and
home of the brave is to engender some form of responsible government.
And when and where was the last time and place we have seen one of those?

Meanwhile, make friends and keep family close.
J.A.

 



24 Aug 2009 @ 02:27 by vaxen : Yup...
Thanks J. Inherent responsibility is lacking thanks to the edutrainbrainwashing system, "public" schools, which is, of course, government co-opted and the term "public" is a legal one which refers to 'the corporation' otherwise known as the United States of Amerika which is ensconced in Washington D.C. and thinks it really does rule us. Yes blood will be shed. As to whether or not it will mean a thing or change anything? ;)

As Thomas Jefferson famously quipped in regard to the insurrection:

"A little rebellion now and then is a good thing. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Perhaps it's time to consider that option once again.

I'm calling for a national strike, one designed to close the country down for a day. The intent? Real campaign-finance reform and strong restrictions on lobbying. Because nothing will change until we take corporate money out of politics. Nothing will improve until our politicians are once again answerable to their constituents, not the rich and powerful.

Let's set a date. No one goes to work. No one buys anything. And if that isn't effective -- if the politicians ignore us -- we do it again. And again. And again.  



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