• Whole Nuts

    by  • 8/21/2009 • health • 0 Comments

    I haven’t really said much on the Whole Foods CEO’s so-called health care reform suggestions. He basically claims on his blog that the editorial staff at the New York Times took it upon themselves to make him look bad.

    He posted the full, uncut, unedited, uncensored, version to his blog, and it… looks identical.

    The NYT staff apparently didn’t insert the oft-repeated lies about Canadian Death Panels. He obviously doesn’t understand how our supplemental system works when he says things like “they want health care dollars that they can control and spend themselves without permission from their governments.” No, Mr. Mackey. They don’t want more money for knee surgery or cancer treatment (those are FULLY COVERED), they want supplemental insurance for dental care and massages and glasses.

    Do a little research to at least weed out the blatant lies from your piece.

    I responded to his blog post with over 2000 other people;

    Have you actually spoken to a Canadian?

    As a Canadian, I have to point out a couple misleading statements that you parrot; that there’s some sort of panel of faceless bureaucrats that determine any patient’s worthiness for treatment. There are no Palin Death Panels here; never have been.

    “Even in countries such as Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care.”

    No Canadian can be denied basic medical care. ; they are treated For any reason. That’s more basic a right than most others.

    “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.”

    No bureaucrat has ever been involved when I’ve sought medical treatment. I haven’t had to get a pre-auth or been turned down due to a pre-existing condition, or been given a pre-auth that’s then become a denial.

    Where are these bureaucrats hiding? Please tell me specifics rather than repeating lies and talking points from the AMA.


    Updated: interesting responses to Mackey’s blog post;

    avid_runner Says:
    August 14th, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    “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.”

    So if office visits are applied to the deductible, you can be “careful” by not going to the doctor until you have a dire emergency, then spend it all in the ER and compromise your health in the process. And I’m sure Whole Foods pays their employees so well they ALL have an extra $2,500 saved up to pay for health care.

    “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.”

    Sorry, this just is not realistic. Are YOU willing to pay higher taxes to help provide health care for everyone? If so, how would that differ from a single-payer system? But your piece clearly indicates you’re not.

    “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?”

    The government subsidizes both food and shelter, for buyers (food stamps, mortgage deduction, FHA loans) and sellers (agricultural subsidies, bank bailouts). The government even runs single-payer health care for seniors (Medicare).

    “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.”

    Few would agree with this if Americans were routinely denied access to food and shelter because they had eaten before or had a history of sleeping indoors.

    “Over the past two decades, breakthrough scientific research […] 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.”

    So, John, what percentage of your stores’ floor space are dedicated to the sale of relatively low-margin plant-based whole foods like fresh produce and bulk grains? I bet it’s a fraction of the floor space devoted to the high-margin refined and processed foods in your pasta, pizza, gelato, and bakery departments; the high-margin dairy and animal foods in your dairy, meat, seafood, and deli departments; and the high-margin alcoholic beverages in your stores’ wine departments and tapas bars. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the percentages resemble your American Diet pie chart.

    Your company showily advocates spending more money for a better, more cooperative altruistic world, but the reality is you’re just cashing in on however much of that sentiment you can arouse. That makes you a hypocrite, John.

    Former Canadian Whole Foods customer Says:
    August 14th, 2009 at 6:28 pm
    Speaking as a Canadian, I read Mr. Mackey’s op-ed piece and his comments about Canadian (and British) healthcare are, er…lies. Sorry folks, we are not waiting in long lines for treatment as Mr. Mackey dishonestly claims; nor are we being told where to go to get medical treatment by cold, uncaring socialist bureaucrats as Mr. Mackey also dishonestly depicts. Medication and drugs for treatment are much more affordable than in the USA its worth mentioning also. NOBODY ever died waiting for treatment here Mr. Mackey, that is a bald faced lie that is perpetuated by American health insurance companies to scare ignorant and mislead Americans from switching to a far more economical and effective healthcare delivery system: socialized, or nationalized medical care.

    If the USAs privatized healthcare system is so great Mr. Mackey, why are 44 million Americans without healthcare? Why are there thousands of Americans dying every year, needlessly, because they are afraid to see a doctor because they know they cannot afford the $1,000-$25,000 treatment–a treatment which their health insurance company routinely refuses to pay out for–even if the claim is legitimate???

    Further: Canada, Australia, France, Germany, England, Belgium, and the Czech Republic are only a few of the modern industrialized nations which have socialized medicine. NONE OF THEM want anything to do with the bureaucratic nightmare of for-profit healthcare that the USA has been struggling with for so many decades. Time and time again, economic studies have shown the USA’s healthcare system is the most expensive, least efficient, and least responsive healthcare delivery system when compared to socialized healthcare systems I’ve mentioned, such as Canada’s.

    I will no longer shop at Whole Foods, as Mr. Mackey has dishonestly portrayed the healthcare system of my country, and made misleading false claims about it. I would expect more from a CEO of a franchise which claims to be working for humanity and the planet.

    Mike Says:
    August 14th, 2009 at 7:04 pm
    Mr. Mackey,

    First, I have no opinion yet on wether the current bill in congress is good or bad. Why? Because there is no way to believe what anyone says, including you.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but one thing is simple to understand. Health care insurance companies exist to make a profit for themselves and their shareholders. After all the consolidation and merging and expense reduction, re-engineering, etc. etc. the only way left for these companies to grow and increase profits is to avoid paying claims–keeping the money.

    How is this done? By denying claims, finding pre-existing conditions after the fact once you get sick and dropping you (My dad was somehow supposed to know he had cancer when he renewed his insurance this year even though it had only been diagnosed in July. Yes, he’s been dropped because they claim he knew.) Now, my brothers and I are paying for his treatment out of our savings. Looks like I’m going to have to get a loan for my daughters college education which begins 4 years from now.

    Until a few years ago, I would have agreed that we have the best health care in the world. That’s because until a few years ago when I got the bug and started my own business, I worked for Fortune 100 companies where I received very good health insurance. Not once was a claim denied or unpaid. Not once did I have a concern about my health care.

    Now, I have private insurance. But I’ve spent at least 50-60 hours on the phone with my insurance company, fighting over every single claim. They refuse the claim, every time. I have to resubmit, every time. My doctors don’t get paid for months and I’m losing well over a week of productivity.

    My business is actually doing very well at the moment, but I’m losing work and sleep over my families health care. Worst part is, this is the same insurance company with almost the exact same plan that I had at my last corporate job. Seems that if you’re not on a giant corporate group plan, you don’t count.

    As for those long lines in Canada and the UK, we’ve got a much longer one here in the U.S. It’s 40+ million uninsured who don’t have a line to stand on. I have insurance and I had to wait over six weeks to see a specialist last year- only to wait another 4 weeks to see another specialist and then wait for 2 months for surgery. That’s almost 5 months waiting. But, oh, I forgot. No one waits in America for health care.

    One other area we agree on is that refined and processed foods are playing a tremendous role in the fattening of America. Are you saying we should go after big agriculture now? Are you? Really? Or is that just the marketing of your business you’re referring to?

    And what about the fact that we can’t compete as well internationally in business because our major competitors all have socialist (or communist) health care programs-removing that major expense from the bottom line? Wasn’t it Toyota that built it’s last factory in Canada because the health care cost in the U.S. would have made the factory unprofitable?

    So what is left? Most of what you suggest would barely make a dent in the problem. Where are the numbers to support what you say? As they say “Show me the money.”

    A very disappointed and now former shopper Says:
    August 14th, 2009 at 7:26 pm
    Another thought- if Canadians are so very unhappy with their health care system, please tell me why the man who created that system (Tommy Douglas)was named in 2004 as “The Greatest Canadian” of ALL TIME?? To put that in context, Wayne Gretzky only came in at #10.

    They seem to have their priorities in order up there in Canada. No doubt there are some detractors, but no system is without its critics. At least the ones up there will live to criticize!

    James Says:
    August 14th, 2009 at 7:37 pm
    Firstly, I moved from Canada to the USA to be with my American wife. So I know exactly what the Canadian health care system is like. Stop the damned lies please.

    Secondly, the American health care system sucks big time. When I moved here I was denied coverage by Kaiser Permanente in California for a physical disability because of a military accident in Canada. Isn’t it nice that you Americans can discriminate against people who have a disability?

    Thirdly, if there is anything I’d like to keep from Canada it would have been my medical coverage. At least I did not have to worry about anything. The Canadian medical system is great. I could go to any doctor in any clinic or even to any emergency room (when necessary) for FREE. No going bankrupt for anything. How you Americans can be proud of your medical system is astounding. I would hang my head in shame.

    Mr. Mackey… You are clueless when it comes to what goes on in Canada. Before you speak nonsense you should actually do some research.

    BTW, Canada has a single payer medical system and it did not turn Canada into a socialist country. Jesus, you Americans make me sick with your “socialist” rants. You have “socialist” type medical systems in place with the military and Medicare for seniors. What’s the problem?

    I don’t understand why the government doesn’t just extend Medicare to ALL citizens and permanent residents. It would be a very short bill to read in Congress instead of this ridiculous circus going on right now.

    Judging from the comments in support of Mackey’s “logic” and “reason”, some people really drive 60-100 miles EACH WAY to get to Whole Foods? I’m guessing they do so alone, in their coal-powered SUV, shooting rabbits on the side of the road? One spoke of driving 150 miles each way, out of his way, in order to shop at Whole Foods in order to show his support…


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