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An Organic Approach to Health Care

An Organic Approach to Health Care

John Makey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods (photo be creative commons user Joe M500)

Kathleen Parker | Tulsa World

WASHINGTON – Now is the time for all good capitalists to shop at Whole Foods.

Not only will you get great produce, fresh meat, fish and healthy to-go meals, but you’ll irritate those who think that President Obama’s health care plan isn’t quite progressive enough.

It seems John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market Inc. – green missionary and exemplar of corporate compassion – has riled hard-core reformers by endorsing free-market principles over government-managed health care.

Well, knock me over with a wakame frond. (That’s seaweed for you tofu-averse.)

In an op-ed article for The Wall Street Journal, Mackey not only insisted personal responsibility and choice are preferable to bureaucratic dispensation of health benefits, he went so far as to assert that health care isn’t a right, any more than food or shelter are.

Mackey went on to list alternative policy reforms that would do much to improve our health care system (and maybe even our health). His ideas include repealing state laws to allow insurance companies to compete across state lines; tort reform to end “ruinous lawsuits” that force doctors to pay exorbitant insurance premiums; Medicare reform; revision of tax laws so employer-provided health insurance and individually owned insurance carry the same tax benefits.

He urged removing legal obstacles to allow creation of high- deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts such as those his employees enjoy.

Supporters of Obama’s massive health care overhaul have declared Mackey an apostate (take a number, honey), and are calling for a boycott of his stores.

If you’re unlucky enough to live in a city or state without a Whole Foods store, you may not be able to fully appreciate the deliciousness of this little food fight. When it comes to corporate responsibility, Mackey has few peers.

His company’s core values read like a Happy Face Manifesto, pledging allegiance to sustainability, caring about our communities and environment, even “delighting our customers.” But also – brace yourself – “creating wealth through profits & growth.”

Is there room in a post-compassionate-conservative nation for a caring capitalist?