Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Reconsidering Whole Foods

I've always found the Whole Foods shopping experience a little choked with smug. All that high-priced organic-food-cum-environmentalism-guilt-indulgence-purchases were just a little too fey for me. (They do have a decent cheese counter (Wegman's is better) and some interesting items in general.)

But now after reading this Wall Street Journal op-ed by John Mackey, the co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods, I may make a special trip to our closest store and give him some of my business.

Titled "The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare", Mr. Mackey starts with a famous quote from the awesome Margaret Thatcher “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” He then continues to list the things he would do to improve the US healthcare system and, quite frankly, I whole-heartedly support each and every one of his suggestions.
• Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs).

Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time.

• Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits.

• Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. (He's right! If car and life insurance is portable, why isn't health insurance? - me)

• Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover.

• 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.

• 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.
He ends with a teeny plug for healthier eating via vegetables but otherwise his entire column is a truthful, accurate, efficient and viable solution to the US healthcare system and I thoroughly endorse his views in this matter.

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