John Mackey on Consumer-Driven Health Care
The Wall Street Journal published an interview with John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, on Saturday. Among other interesting topics, he talked about his contentious op-ed, “The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare,” which ran in the Wall Street Journal in August. In the interview, Mackey reasserts that the Whole Foods health insurance program is better and less expensive than the proposals in Congress.
He describes how Whole Foods has empowered its employees in their own health care decisions by sponsoring health savings accounts (HSAs) and high-deductible health insurance plans. The Show-Me Institute has produced scholarly work that demonstrates the advantages of such plans, and even offers this type of plan for its own employees.
Mackey also refutes the claim that individuals can’t make good health care decisions for themselves, and need a central authority to make the decisions for them. (This relates to our previous discussion on paternalistic policies in health care.) He says:
The assumption behind that is that people don’t care about their own health, and that somebody else has to—a nanny or somebody—has to take care of me because people are too stupid to make these decisions themselves. That’s not been our experience. We find our team members [employees], not surprisingly, seem to care a whole lot about their health.