Whole Foods, healthcare, and boycott

I find it fascinating to watch what happens when progressives discover what kind of a person the CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, is. Because his stores sell organic and healthy products, people automatically assumed he was a progressive like themselves. However, Mackey is the worst of fanatical libertarians, though it was only with the recent Wall Street Journal OpEd he wrote that people discovered this for themselves.

In the OpEd, Mackey came out against anything but a free market healthcare system. He states, unequivocally, that in his opinion, healthcare is not a right.

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. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That’s because there isn’t any. This “right” has never existed in America.

Even in countries like Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries are told by government bureaucrats what health-care treatments 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 treatments.

I leave those in other countries to respond to what Mackey says about your countries, and focus on what he said about this country.

Mackey lists changes he believes will solve the healthcare problems, including removing items that insurance companies are mandated to provide, allowing cross-state insurance sales, as well as tort reform.

However, as articles, such as this excellent article on healthcare costs in the New Yorker detail, healthcare costs are not driven by malpractice lawsuits, or government mandated health care coverage. If anything, the only thing has kept some small control over the healthcare companies are the state laws that don’t allow them to arbitrarily cancel healthcare coverage for the sick, and those who need care—that demand a minimum of responsibility from these companies.

Healthcare in the US has become nothing more than an exercise in earning profits. Until it’s redefined to what it should be, the care of people, costs will continue to increase exponentially, until eventually only the wealthy will be able to afford truly decent health care. The free market fails when it comes to basic humanity.

According to Mackey, if you’re sick and you can’t afford healthcare, why you should just die. I don’t know about any of you, but I have no interest in giving a man like this the time of day, much less my money. I have disliked Whole Foods with a passion for many years, both because of Mackey’s attitude, and the fact that the company grossly overcharges for its goods. To Mackey, organic and healthy are green marketing, a way to make lots of money.

Now others are discovering the truth of Whole Foods and Mackey, and have started a boycotting campaign, though how well it will do, is anyone’s guess. People have to make choices if they want to live what they believe, and that includes choosing where they spend their money. I can do without the “progressive” whose beliefs are nothing more than Twitter tweets and social media bon mots, and who isn’t willing to put their buying choices behind their beliefs.

But this is an easy one for me, because I’ve been boycotting Whole Foods for years.

update Good Good OpEd piece on this discussion at the NY Times. There are a lot of folks saying, but he’s so environmentally helpful, and has led the green revolution, and so on. Well, I look at it this way: he’s been amply rewarded for this effort. From now on, any money I give the store is payment for his latest efforts, and they have been both anti-union and now anti-healthcare. Whole Foods is not the only game in town when it comes to the environment. Not anymore.


Why are all those states dark blue?

Now this is damn clever: using Google searches to trend flu outbreaks. Google is aggregating flu-related searches into trending where flu outbreaks might be occurring, or about to occur.

So far, knock on wood, the flu trend graph shows low activity for Missouri.

Healthcare Political

Benefiting the insurance companies, not the people

Bush is making a visit to Missouri on Thursday to push his health care plan. How appropriate, considering that our Republican governor has cut the number of children and other people covered under Medicaid and Medicare. Over 100,000 400,000 were dropped, and I’ll tell you one thing: they won’t be covered under Bush’s plan, either.

Here’s the deal: I as a single person would not be taxed on my first $7500.00 in income, in order to pay for health insurance. What does health insurance run? About $200-400.00 a month for a single person without pre-existing condition. Monstrously more if there is an existing condition–if you can even get coverage.

Now, if I make let’s say 25,000 a year–that’s a tax savings of about $750.00 or so. This will buy me, on average, 2-3 months of so-so coverage under most of the HMOs in this state. All at the cost of those lucky people who have decent health care coverage for their families having to pay more in taxes, just so that I get enough tax saving to not have enough money to pay for my own health care coverage.

Now, if it were enough to actually allow most working people without insurance to get such, they’ll be joining these HMOs and other medical plans, adding to the profits these companies make. However, the quality of care will continue to degrade, as more and more of these organizations are denying even basic care in an attempt to further increase profits.

The health organizations will like it because they don’t have to cover quite as many ‘bums’ and ‘deadbeats’ and, you know, the people who most of the Republicans would prefer to just die, and eliminate the problem.

It is universal health care or nothing. No more Bushian ‘drug plans’ that helped few. No more compromises, and absolving this country of its social duties in ensuring that everyone has basic health care. No more embarrassing ourselves in the eyes of the rest of the world, as the people who put up with this shit from our politicians, and who don’t have the brains to demand better.

The cost to pay for all this really isn’t the problem. What is, is the health care organizations that are overcharging for services that are being underutilized because someone somewhere wants to make a buck off the backs of Americans. There is a Health Machine that doesn’t want universal health care. It’s not because people are worried about you and me, or jobs, or because of increased taxes, and it’s not because of what the country can and cannot afford. It all comes down to profits and quarterly reports and executive bonuses.

The Health Machine: that’s who Bush’s plan is for and to be frank, he’s not welcome in this state. Let him takes his sorry ass elsewhere.