Health Care Reform (the Whole Foods way)

Whole Foods, the (rather pricey) “natural foods” chain, is facing a boycott from some of their customers, because of an op-ed by their CEO John Mackey.  It can be found here,  on the Wall Street Journal’s web site (Aug. 12th):  “The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare” .  I thought all his points made sense, as a preliminary step to any further health care restructuring.  Here are his suggestions:

1. Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs).

2. Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits.

3.  Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines.

4. Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover.

5. Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

6. Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost.

7.  Enact Medicare reform.

8.  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 aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

What would be wrong with any of those eight points?  But I don’t think any of them are part of the bill which the President’s allies are trying to push thru the Congress.

2 Responses to “Health Care Reform (the Whole Foods way)”

  1. Ed Says:

    I don’t understand item #2. What are the tax advantages? When I was employed by the University of MD, I paid for part of my health plan, and the state of MD paid for the rest. But I got no tax advantages. Was I missing something?

    Also, regarding item #7: Under the State of MD system, I was well informed about every bone-setting, every MRI, every doctor’s visit. And more recently, I’ve been getting file cabinet drawers full of info about charges for every surgical cut, every drug, every scan, all the blood labs. Not that I’m complaining, but I get informed about everything at least twice. I’m over-informed. Maybe everyone else is under-informed?
    What are the experiences of other people? Is this a real problem?

  2. PJK Says:

    Ed:
    Under #2 the author says: “Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair.” I would take that to mean that the employer needn’t pay ANY taxes on the money provided for the employee health care plan. But an individual can only deduct health expenses (in which health ins. is included) over a certain percentage of gross income. Either 3% or 5%, I forget which (we’ve been healthy enough not to exceed this, thank God!). Presumably you also weren’t able to deduct health expenses? Now maybe the rules for health ins. which you buy yourself are something different– in which case I was talking thru my hat (as happens now and then).

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