Skip to comments.The Whole Foods approach to health care reform (a rational, workable alternative to Obamacare)
Posted on 08/16/2009 6:11:22 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, has an excellent op-ed in todays Wall Street Journal outlining his vision for a plan to reform American health care.
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 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 directiontoward less government control and more individual empowerment.
Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:
Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). The combination of high-deductible health insurance and HSAs 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. We also provide up to $1,800 per year in additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees 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 plans costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of worker satisfaction.
Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair.
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 insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.
Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.
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. How many people know the total cost of their last doctors visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us?
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 arent covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Childrens Health Insurance Program.
Mackeys reform proposals are of the type we should like to see from our legislators. They do not fall into the category of reforms that look good while doing nothing, or reforms that are tailored to special interest groups at the expense of patients.
These reforms are real, cost-lowering and patient-protecting ones that would put America on track for expanding coverage, improving care and lowering health care expenditures. Legislators should take notice.
John Mackey also talked about Whole Foods high deductible health insurance plan and its advantages with John Stossel in the 2007 20/20 special, Sick in America:
(CLICK ABOVE LINK TO WATCH )
You cannot fight something we nothing. You cannot just criticize without proposing something concrete.
The proposals given by the CEO of Whole Foods is a good start. If you disagree with some of his proposals, I'd like to hear your alternatives.
Ideally, we should keep this proposal within 100 pages so that people can read and understand it ( instead of the thousand page monstrosity being rammed down our throats by Congress ).
Some of what he says is smart but Whole Foods is liberal, over-priced and marginally good so, I’ll take what he says with a grain of salt.
This is, by far, the best laid out plan I have yet seen.
Any chance of this going through? Only in my dreams. OK, now back to the real world. Sigh....
Ideally, we’ll shop at Whole Foods, eat a veggie-based diet, cut down on animal fats, take healthy supplements, exercise daily and NOT NEED much health insurance. Absolutely works for me. And I’m well over 65. Pun intended.
My brother and I were talking about this kind of a plan tonight. I have heard of similar plans.
Not much of what he has proposed is new. Every item from high deductible policies to interstate insurance competition to tort reform has been proposed in the past.
And it has gone nowhere.
I don’t propose to have an answer why, but it might be that it is asking politicians on all levels to give up some control and power.
But, I should add that I like most of what he is saying.
Close the border, keep it closed, deport illegals and pass tort reform legislation.
Not a cure for spiraling costs but it’s a start.
Most of the '47 million uninsured' seem to show up at Grady, either at the ER or one of their free clinics. His suggestion was to fully fund the clinics and just let them provide health care to the indigent and working poor. They're doing it already anyway, but the cost is being passed on to paying customers, insurance companies, and the local taxpayers.
Anybody see a problem with this? Portable policies and HSAs for most folks, and public clinics for the people who can't afford that.
These are the types of measures that make sense and one would expect the Republicrats in Congress would be focusing on implementing instead of the Marxist nationalization of the medical industry being perpetrated by the red sons of bitches in power.
You may be interested in the point number one of the article.
In my area, Whole Foods is called “Whole Paycheck”.
I didn’t see where he said anything about whole foods in the article. They sounded like good ideas to me.
Bring back the pre-1986 medical deductions where we were allowed to deduct ALL medical expenses, not just the ones over a certain percentage of a persons/family’s gross (or net). As it stands, unless there has been a serious medical condition that year, no one can take advantage of that deduction.
If the deduction were reinstated, people would be more likely to pay for medical services, knowing at least that it would be deductible.
Yes: he’s MARKETING to stuck-up libs, giving them what they expect/want, AND making money off of it. Sounds like a capitalist to ME. . .
He may very well be a Leftist, but each of his points are valid, with the possible exception of Medicare reform, as that one is vague.
If each of the others were inacted, our health care ‘problem’ would vanish.
Besides FDA and possibly the VA - get the Feds out of health-care completely, including Medicaid/Medicare and removing any tax benefits or penalties for corporate programs, self-insurance, etc..
In a transition period, turn over Fed Money for medicaid/medicare to the States on gradually declining basis over 5 years. Then let individual States decide if they want to raise taxes to maintain similar programs, and have more activist or less activist health-care programs. It would remove the most massive layer of bureaucracy (the Feds), reduce costs, and most important - provide a laboratory of best practices in 50 different states. Speed, adaptability and flexibility to change would also increase.