Sunday, August 16, 2009

I have never liked Whole Foods as much...

... as I did after reading an editorial entitled "The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare" in the Wall Street Journal written by Whole Foods' founder and CEO John Mackey. In it, he outlined eight reforms to lower health care costs.

Apparently, the article has some of their liberal customers all up in arms, but I thought it was great. In fact, next time I shop there, I will be sure to make a point to tell the cashier how much I enjoyed reading it. I think I might even send them customer feedback via their website.

Some of my favorite quotes:

"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."

"All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments. Although Canada has a population smaller than California, 830,000 Canadians are currently waiting to be admitted to a hospital or to get treatment, according to a report last month in Investor’s Business Daily. In England, the waiting list is 1.8 million."

"Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health." "We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health."


  1. As a country with socialised medicine I feel I have to come in here and defend it. Over the years there have been moves by the Government here to move to a more Amercian model and quite frankly it frightens me. I really don't understand what your issue is? Is it the notion that your husband's taxes might pay for someone (who is too lazy to work) to receive health care? Because that's not exactly how it works. I can only give you some examples: in 2000 it was discovered that I had something growing off an ovary and they weren't sure what it was. Two weeks later I was in hospital having it operated on and I didn't pay anything as it was covered under Medicare (the socialised medicine). From my understanding of the American system I would have had to jump through several hoops with my insurance company in order to have the operation in the first place. A stress that I would have wanted to deal with. Fast forward to when I needed IVF. By this time I had opted to take out private health insurance so IVF was covered under this and I was able to make a choice about whether to go private or public (socialised). Yes, IVF is covered under the socialised medicine model BUT because it is seen as non-essential there are waiting lists. Perhaps that's the waiting list that you refer to in your post: 1.8 million waiting in England. They are most likely waiting for non-essential care. If it were an emergency they would be treated quite quickly. When I take my children to my local GP I pay nothing. Not a cent
    Now, having said all that I am not going to say that socialised medicine is without fault. There are some problems with it but those are mostly to do with the previous Liberal Government giving less and less to the health care system in order to undermine it and therefore justify a move towards a more American model
    Sorry if this comment is a bit all over the place I had to write it over the course of an hour. Darn those children taking up my time ;)

  2. Alice, I too come from a country with socialized medicine, and I see how much better the situation is here than it is in Australia. You can actually GET care here. And yes, we SHOULD pay for what we need and want, even medical care.

    It's not simply a matter of our tax dollars paying for some lazy person who doesn't want to work. With socialized medicine here, they will fund abortions and try to kill off old people.

    I was placed on an URGENT list in Australia about seven years ago for a problem with my heart. There was only one cardiologist in that area of the entire state, and when I left Australia three years ago, I still did not have an appointment with him for my supposedly URGENT issue. AND, I would have had to fly out to see him. Waiting five years when it's URGENT??? You think that's GOOD?

    I also worked for a public hospital in Australia. We were under pressure at the time because we had to tell people that the waiting list for their surgery was fifteen years...but in reality we were told to get a few more people through each day because the waiting list was at least 32 years long and they didn't want the public to get hold of that information.

  3. I feel I need to leave a comment on this one. Having lived most of my life with socialised healthcare, and my family still living with it. I've only been stateside for a year and only had one encounter with the "healthcare system" over here.

    My personal experience with this current system was not pleasant, but it did treat me quickly, and everyone I encountered during my care was very compassionate. If anything I felt there was a tendency to over test, which made me uncomfortable at the time, but not anymore.

    My sister-in-law still lives with the NHS, for now. As I write this she is having surgery to remove a brain tumour. It was only diagnosed on Wednesday, even though she had been suffering from severe headaches for nearly a year. Her GP dismissed it as migraines, then after continued visits over months he finally sent her to a neurologist three months ago, who told her she had cluster migraines. Her GP only sent her for a scan last week out of desperation to get her from constantly calling out a doctor in the middle of the night because of the pain she was in. The first night in hospital she nearly died, and her surgeon admitted that if she had still been at home she would have died. He also said it looked as if she had started developing the tumour over two years ago, at the time her GP just put it down as post natal depression. Her care might be free at point of use, but it almost killed her.

    I'm a great believer in taking charge of my own health, and try to stay away from doctors as much as possible, but when it becomes necessary I'd rather be over tested to find out I'm healthy than left incorrectly treated and dead.

    Neither model is perfect as they currently operate, but what is being proposed here in the USA is going to be the worst of both worlds.

  4. Tri-care, a government health care system, works great, last I checked.

    Of course you have to be a member of the military to qualify.

    To those of us in the real world, who have been working since we were 15 1/2 to pay our parents electric bills, and put food on the table because they were too busy popping out babies?

    I'm ecstatic to be able to get health care for the first time in my adult life.

    I agree whole-heartedly that we should as citizens be responsible for most of our health (staying fit, eating healthy, practicing basic oral hygiene) but sometimes you just HAVE to go to the doctor - and not everyone can afford insurance. (Which in turn means you absolutely can not afford the doctor)

    Obviously there will be waiting lines for non-emergency type events. For an exaggerated example, if you have a splinter you aren't going to be seen in front of someone with a broken leg.

    The problem we have now is that because of private insurance companies, no one can afford the doctor on their own - or they are forced to pay high premiums. Because people can't afford to see a doctor somewhat regularly, they'll put off major issues.

    Let's say, a young woman finds a lump in her breast. She doesn't have insurance. So she waits. Say 6-7 months go by while she saves money to have the lump looked at. In that 6-7 months that lump could have become cancerous, and now she requires a mastectomy to save her life.

    When if she HAD health insurance, it would have been removed before it spread this far - and saved her the mastectomy?

    Which is cheaper? Which is safer for the woman?

    If people were able to go to the doctor before it became an emergency, it would cost less all around. Already if you go to the emergency room and don't have insurance they 'bill you'. But those bills can be paid back more-or-less whenever. It may ruin your credit score, but it isn't like they will come and undo the services they gave you. So those unpaid bills go where?

    Affordable healthcare is something we've needed for a very long time.

  5. I do have a problem paying for lazy people and paying for illegal aliens. I have worked my a$$ off all my life to get to the point I am now. How is it fair that I work so hard and I would get the same treatment as a man who chose to play computer games all his life and do nothing? Sure, I could sit at home and do nothing also. Thats what socialism does. It takes the dreamers and the competitiveness out of people if they know they will be taken cared for.

    Throughout history the have have and the have nots dont have. The kings and queens get the health care they can afford, the middle income people get what they can afford and the poor get what they can afford. Whats so bad about that system? In America you truly can be anyone you want to be nowadays. As successful as you can dream. They sky is the limit.

    Its like my brother. He plays games all day. I work my butt off. Because he didnt read his mortgage papers he is goign to lose his house soon. He is hoping for some government hand out. WHY? Because he didnt pay attention to the rules and the loan he was signing! Someone suckered him into his loan at gunpoint? I dont think so. I was very diligent when we bought our house (at the same time as him). Yet, he sluffs it off and now he gets the Obama housing bailout and I am the one who has to pay for it? Come on. Its not right.

    Maybe in a Utopian society socialism would be great. The truth of the matter is we are all human and we all err and with that said there can never be true socialism here where all are equal. There will always be someone in control, some administrator, etc. Who controls them? Thats why socialism is dangerous.

    By the way when has any government system worked out well?

    I will say that our healthcare system her is messed up. An $8 arm sling at CVS pharmacy is charged at $120 in a hospital? Thats ridiculous. Yes, something needs to fix that part of it, but not overhaul everything.

    Obama inherited a crack in the liberty bell... I dont want that fixed either.

  6. When you consider that we taxpayers are already funding healthcare for old people through Medicare, poor children through Medicaid and CHIP, those who serve in the military along with their families, veterans, federal workers and retirees, state workers and retirees, well, we're already funding government healthcare. Why not just extend it a bit so that everyone is covered? I see it as the compassionate thing to do. Maybe they are lazy and don't work, and we feel like they don't deserve it. Jesus healed blind people, crippled people, lepers, demon-possessed people, not because they deserved it, but because he had compassion on them. He died to save us, not because we deserved it, but out of compassion for us. I think he set a great example for us to follow. Just my opinion.

    Countries with some sort of government healthcare have longer life expectancies, lower infant mortality rates, and fewer abortions.

  7. So it's ok to mortgage our children's future for an illegal war in the middle east, but not for basic public health care?

    Little known fact: Privatized health care is actually MUCH more wasteful and bureaucratic than the Gov't run programs like Medicaid because Private insurance is motivated by cost-cutting and greed, not keeping people healthy. 12 percent of the cost of maintaining a private insurance company is devoted to administration, compared to just 2 percent of the cost of maintaining Medicaid/Medicare insurance.

    Gov't is a corporation, much like big insurance businesses- the only difference being that we have a democratic say in what our gov't does, unlike private healthcare. What is wrong with that?

  8. Americans live in a prosperous country with good doctors, yet life expectancy is low compared to other industrialized countries because few people actually have access to this good health care. Obama is trying to give everyone access to health care, he does not want to take anything away from those who have it. If you have money, you can still pay for a doctor and skip the lines. What is wrong with trying to help others?

  9. Ooh, how did I miss this blog? Okay, well I hope God intervenes but if not we are in BIG trouble!!! The government is corupt as the devil himself and it is sad that so many Americans are so ignorant and blind to this situation..... maybe if they would stop sitting infront of their t.v. all day they could use the brain God gave them........ well Socialism is everything that the Lord is NOT!!!! I pray God protects those who put their trust in Him!!!

  10. MrsW having been a resident in Australia you should know that the Howard Government spent a lot of time trying to undermine the Medicare system. You should also know that there is a lot of buck-passing between the state and federal Governments. These things are not reasons to get rid of socialised medicine or to hold them up as a reason to say 'see, it doesn't work'. I have no idea how much money we have wasted on the 'War on Terror' which has actually made our country more of a target, has done nothing to make a dent in this alleged war or made the world a safer place. What I do know is that is money that would have been better spent on the health care system
    And, another example if I may. My mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. From first discovering the lump to having it removed was less than 6 weeks. She did not pay a cent
    I am really intrigued by the reasons why people don't like it. A lot of seems to boil down to those less fortunate not 'deserving' it somehow. I honestly believe that a country (and a person) can be judged by how they treat their weakest members

  11. Alice,
    I also believe that our nation will be judged according to how we treat our weakest citizens. Here area a couple of my favorite quotations, both by former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, who served under President Johnson more that 40 years ago. His words still ring true even today.

    "The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children, those who are in the twilight of life, the aged, and those who are in the shadow of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped."

    “Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism.”

  12. We can have concern for the unfortunate without paying for lazy people who could work but don't.

  13. grade1teacher said "I also believe that our nation will be judged according to how we treat our weakest citizens. "

    Oh, that is so true!!! We have allowed millions and millions of our weakest citizens to be ripped right out of what should have been the safest place, their mother's womb. We, as a country have allowed this and this health care bill will even encouraged and pay for it.The judgement will only continue to get worse for our country!

  14. I don't necessarily think that socialised medicine is going to result in an increase in the abortion rate. I am not going to get into the abortion debate because I think that takes us away from what we should be debating: socialised medicine.
    MrsW I am assuming that if we could provide health care for hardworking poor people that would be okay? Just as long as we aren't providing for lazy people? I do understand your vent. I had a go at my brother once for being a slacker on the dole and he shot back with 'what right do you have to tell me what to do?' My reply was 'I work very hard in my job and pay taxes. My taxes pay for your dole. So, yes I do have a right to tell you to get out there and get a job' That shut him up LOL
    I am glad Zsuzsanna that you are allowing a bit of a debate to happen here. It's been really interesting to read what other people are thinking if if I don't necessarily understand the reasoning

  15. I meant to add this to my last comment, you don't have to publish this as it's not that exciting LOL but I was wondering when we would hear more about the homeschooling?

  16. Zsuzanna, I love your blog absolutely and I think you are a brilliant person, but this is one post that I disagree with. I'm not a liberal or a conservative (politically speaking), but I think that this health care bill can really help out poor people in this country. Some people don't go to the hospital ever because they cannot afford it, and I find that to be very sad. I am all for helping the needy; I find it to be a very Godly thing to do, so that is the major reason why I am not against this bill.

  17. Time does not permit me to respond to all the comments left on here. A couple of things I would like to point out are:

    1. I lived with national health care in Europe for the first 21 years of my life, the first 8 of that with communist healthcare, so I do know what I am talking about.

    2. I agree that the medical profession and system in this country is completely out of whack. It is not about being healthy, it is about rich people wanting to get richer by keeping everybody sick and therefore in need of drugs and surgeries. Patients, in turn, sue doctors for astronomical amounts in often frivolous lawsuits. Doctors then treat not based on what is healthy or safe, but what will keep them covered against malpractice suits the best. Example: C-sections

    3. National health care in the USA will not eliminate those problems. We will have the worst of both worlds here. Also, no European or other Western nation has as many people as we do, and their systems would fail even more on our scale.

    4. Helping the poor is something that should be left up to the choice of the individual. There is nothing philanthropic about stealing my wallet, taking out the money, and handing it to someone "in need". It will make me disgruntled, the person who took my wallet a thief, and the person who got the money no more grateful for the help they got, and no less dependent on continuing to get it. It's like giving drug money to a druggie.

    5. Charitable work/donations should be left to private entities such as churches, organizations, etc. I love helping people I know personally and who are in need. Everyone else in need also has people that they know. If they truly need help, it will be available, and if they don't, they won't get money they don't deserve.

    6. As Christians, we should stand against ANY system that promotes/finances abortion.

    7. Abortion figures in Europe may SEEM lower, but there are several reasons for that. For one, people have birth control ingrained in them, so they get pregnant less (or, they have "silent abortions" from hormonal birth control). Also, other early forms of abortion (pills) have been legal there for decades. Thirdly, many countries only legalized abortion in the last two decades or even more recently, so the population in general still rejects it more than in the USA. Finally, many of these countries have earlier cutoffs (12 weeks), and also mandatory counseling with pro-life organizations. But as a whole, if there are fewer abortions, it is not because of national health care. What sense would that make, anyway? If you have to pay for your own abortion, you are more likely to get one?? Hardly.

    8. Tri-care and Medicaid are both horrible, as anyone relying on these will tell you.

  18. As a women who is on Medicaid currently because of pregnancy I can testify that that it is not so great. My husband works, but the insurance is outrageous. We could change the plan and get lower deductables. However that would mean paying out 200 dollars every two weeks for something we hardly ever use. (Aside from pregnancy costs)We can't afford that.

    The only good thing about Medicaid is that it pays for everything. The bad thing is it limits your choice of doctors. While all the hospitals in and around my area accept it, many doctors do not. I refuse to see a male ob/gyn anyway, so I was even more limited in choices. I called four doctors before I found one that would take Medicaid. While we have been pleased with her so far it is very fustrating to say the least.

    I agree the healthcare system needs a overhaul of some sort , but I do not like Obama's plan which I think would eventually lead to a complete government takeover of all healthcare.

  19. I still don't quite understand your arguments and I think that's the problem with this kind of forum; there's a big lag between the question and the answer.
    But on the abortion thing, I really don't think that socialised medicine is going to necessarily mean a jump in the abortion rate. Also, I think your comment about women not wanting to pay for their own abortions is a bit off base. For many years women were paying for 'back-yard' abortions and I believe it's a practice that would come back if abortion was driven underground again. What I do think we need are non-biased counselling services for women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of services seems to be either pro-life or pro-choice and, while I am pro-choice, I really think that the counselling services need to be unbiased. It's already a difficult time and the last thing a woman needs is someone pushing their own agenda

  20. Brittany,
    I would love to know what is "not so great" about a program that pays for everything. If you don't like Medicaid, you don't have to accept it. You do have other choices. Your husband could get a second job to pay for your healthcare. You could get a job to pay for your healthcare. You could go into debt for your healthcare and eventually declare bankruptcy like so many other Americans. You could get no healthcare at all and just deliver your baby at home on your own. If you don't like those choices, you can continue to receive the free government healthcare.

    Congratulations on the pregnancy and whatever choice you make, I pray that you deliver a healthy baby. I do hope that you know I was not serious about those other choices, because I don't think any of them are the best thing for a young pregnant woman. I am glad that government programs like Medicaid are available to you and so many other people who need it.

  21. I was born and raised in Germany. I moved to the United States 5 years ago.I wish Healthcare here would be more like in germany. I never met anybody in germany who went into debt because of medical bills. In the states I always worry if we can afford going to the doctor when we are sick. In germany I simply went and never had to worry how I was going to pay for it. Why are people so afraid of a change that could help so many people? Is it simply because of Obama? Would people be supportive if it would have been Bush? What's wrong with paying a little more taxes so everybody can have good healthcare? One of those days you might be in the position where you can't afford healthcare. I would pay more taxes now and help others with it so if I'm in the position I will be helped as well. Socialised medicine isn't bad like people seem to think. It's the word socialised,isn't it?

  22. I like Whole Foods, and even though a lot of liberals shop there, I should have known that a successful business like this was not being run by a liberal.

  23. I spent nearly 40 years living in Australia under what some American's call "socialized medicine" - a term that anti-universal health care advocates invented to scare the daylights out of people about such systems. Anyway, it's a term that I'd never heard before coming to the US. So, in that 40 years I've had family members have babies, skin cancer surgery, quadruple bypasses, tonsillectomies, emergency c-sections, appendectomies, moles removed, mastectomies, hysterectomies, palliative care, midwife services, lactation consultants, GP consultations with any doctor of choice, cat scans, x-rays, broken bones fixed .... I could go on ..... but they've had all of these services immediately, without seeing a bill or ever knowing what it cost.

    I'm not saying the system is perfect, and there are sometimes waits for non-emergency elective surgery - but having lived in both systems, and married to someone who's a nurse who has worked as a nurse in both systems I can tell you which one works better - for everyone. The scaremongering about rationing is not really based in fact - though there are examples of such practices in universal system's such as Australia's, but rationing already exists here - my wife can attest to that - she and her doctor colleagues spend many hours on the phone arguing with medical insurance companies about why they won't OK a certain procedure - as patients lie in gurneys in the corridors waiting for a room.

    As far as cost goes - the Australian system was totally financed by taxes for a long time. Australian tax rates aren't as high as some European countries, but are generally higher than US rates. Some tweaks have been used to overcome shortfalls in financing the system. Over a decade ago a Medicare levy (Medicare is the name given to Aus's system) was imposed at 1% of everyone's income - so everyone, wealthy or otherwise paid 1 percent extra in taxes. Over the following years this levy was raised to 2%. You can also buy into private insurance to "top up" your plan - this allows you to go to private hospitals (some which are like 5-star hotels), get cosmetic surgery, extra services with optometry, physiotherapy, etc. and costs a couple of hundred dollars a month.

    When we went on COBRA 6 years ago, when my wife was between hospital jobs we paid $1200 a month. During this time we still had to pay $4000 for costs when our son was born, and co-pays and charges left right and center. Those costs were almost unbearable - no wonder so many people in this country go bankrupt from medical expenses - and if we'd been paying that percentage of our income in taxes, some anti-tax advocacy group would have been jumping up and down about it as a great imposition on our and similar families.

    Projections are that Americans will be spending nearly 50% of their income on health costs in the next decade or so if the current system prevails. Why not have an option - not a fully-fledged government system, as I've been describing with the Australian one - but the choice to buy into a limited govt. financed system, such as the public option, if you choose not to take the private plan. This seems incremental - as many seem to want - and allows much of the status quo to survive while allowing for some govt. pressure to keep costs down and to offer some competition. If people's fears about rationing, etc. do materialize, then they can opt out and choose a private plan again. Isn't the sort of portability this reform is proposing, including the banning of discrimination for pre-exiting conditions, etc. the sort of reform that would help everyone?

  24. Ok, I just re-read that comment. My Husband's shoulder injury is as a result of a car crash several years ago and it recently started bothering him again. I thought I'd explain that otherwise I'd have you all saying "2 weeks to be referred from his GP after an Injury?!" It was a pre-existing condition. So... something an insurance company wouldn't fork out for right? ;)

  25. I live in Canada where we have universal health care. I have never had a complaint about our system and twice in my life I have had serious medical issues that were dealt with effectively and promptly.

    A transient in the street, a suburban housewife or a government official will all get the same level of first class health care which is on a par with every other western industrialised nation...America included.

    We scratch our heads up here whenever we hear an American politician rant and rave about the encroaching "socialism" universal health care will herald.

    From a basic human decency standpoint would not the Christ approve of this kindness?

  26. I currently have Tri-Care. It's actually been very easy to use. They have fantastic customer service people.

    Prior to Tri-Care, we had health insurance for the employees of my state. The state contracts with a private company to run it. Again, excellent customer service and easy to use.


Your KINDLY WORDED, constructive comments are welcome, whether or not they express a differing opinion. All others will be deleted without second thought.