For the first time in 70 years, we have a viable chance at Universal Healthcare. My friends Whole Foods, Rep. Jared Polis aren’t so sure.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jul 24, 2009
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tired, hungry, poor, liberty

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

For centuries, the heart of American idealism has rested with mercy, with compassion, with empathy. But when it comes to walking the talk, folks like to quibble? Tax the rich? Cut into my bottomline? No, thanks—let the poor and vulnerable continue to lose their shirt—nevermind that two-thirds of business bankruptcies are due to lack of health care coverage? ~ ed.

Rep. Jared Polis and Whole Foods vs. Obama & Universal Health Care? What’s next, Fish vs. Water?

whole foods health carewhole foods twitter

Let this be a message unto all ye quibblers. Shut. The. [email protected]#$%k. Up. This is a time to pull together. Forget our petty differences. We’re the only First World Nation that doesn’t cover our poor, or needy. For years I worked on elephant without health coverage—couldn’t afford it—I was one car door opening onto my bicycle lane away from going out of business. I was one infection or sickness away from losing my business—I couldn’t stand to miss work for even a week and pay for the absence. And I, in Boulder, had a far stronger social net below me than many.

This is a time not to make perfect the enemy of the good. This is reform that Truman first (*) tried to enact, back in the mid 1940s. The costs we inflict on ourselves by not covering our weak, our vulnerable—both financial and moral costs, mind you—are immense. Get behind the man, and let’s pass healthcare reform. 80% of Americans want universal coverage, polls show. It’s called evolution. Compassion. Empathy.

Via Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, a good man with strong opinions (he’s a Libertarian):

John Mackey, chief executive of Whole Foods, said that while his company offers coverage, he worries that an employer mandate would lead to more stringent federal rules on what employer plans must include.

He said that would drive up the cost of employer benefits, motivating companies to end their benefits and instead let employees sign up for the public insurance option, figuring that paying a penalty would be less costly. This would result in eventual domination by the public insurance plan — something Mackey suspects is reformers’ secret hope.

“It’s a Trojan horse,” he said.

truman health care

Excerpt: History of Health Care Reform in US:

Other developed countries have had some form of social insurance (that later evolved into national insurance) for nearly as long as the US has been trying to get it. Some European countries started with compulsory sickness insurance, one of the first systems, for workers beginning in Germany in 1883; other countries including Austria, Hungary, Norway, Britain, Russia, and the Netherlands followed all the way through 1912. Other European countries, including Sweden in 1891, Denmark in 1892, France in 1910, and Switzerland in 1912, subsidized the mutual benefit societies that workers formed among themselves. So for a very long time, other countries have had some form of universal health care or at least the beginnings of it. The primary reason for the emergence of these programs in Europe was income stabilization and protection against the wage loss of sickness rather than payment for medical expenses, which came later. Programs were not universal to start with and were originally conceived as a means of maintaining incomes and buying political allegiance of the workers.

In a seeming paradox, the British and German systems were developed by the more conservative governments in power, specifically as a defense to counter expansion of the socialist and labor parties. They used insurance against the cost of sickness as a way of “turning benevolence to power”…


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


16 Responses to “For the first time in 70 years, we have a viable chance at Universal Healthcare. My friends Whole Foods, Rep. Jared Polis aren’t so sure.”

  1. Whole Foods' response via Twitter:

    @elephantjournal Our current health care plan is a sustainable one that allows us to pay 100% of the premiums for our full-time team members

    My response:

    @WholeFoods: that's admirable. But does criticizing imperfect nat'l universal plan make sense? We all need it, no?

  2. swati jr* says:
    as howard dean stated, this is not a perfect plan. but it is the only way to start moving america towards the reality of coverage for the majority of its citizens.

  3. Seems to work in other countries, no?

  4. vw111 says:

    Yes but this country is bankrupt. Hyperinflation is in the near future. Obama's spending like a drunken sailor. I think he learned from his daddy bush. Balance the budget and I will be all in for universal healthcare. Unfortunately the idiots in congress are more determined to spend. Check out this chart:

    Yea its a conservative org, but the numbers are dead on.

    I do think in the long run, universal healthcare is viable, but you just cant do it the half assed way the house and senate are going about it. Hopefully there are some honest dems that will prevent this

  5. I don't think the millions of folks without healtcare coverage can afford to wait for our government's "long run." we could legalize pot, tax the hell out of it, close down half the War on Drugs, empty millions of half-baked hippies from our prisons, and with all the savings balance your budget, no? We've waited since Truman, the time is ripe. I'd rather renege on bailout dough than see Universal Healthcare given another "maybe next time."

  6. Universal healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Simple as that. And any step away from the current situation – as imperfect as that step may be – is a step in the right direction.

  7. lmb says:

    i'm curious what percentage of whole food's employees are full time aand how many are part time and therefore have NO coverage…

  8. When I worked at Whole Foods a couple of years ago in Phoenix, there were very few part-time employees. In the Whole Body Department where I worked, we only hired full-time employees.

  9. […] For the first time in 70 years, we have a viable chance at Universal Healthcare. My friends Whole Fo… by Waylon Lewis, […]

  10. […] We’ve blogged about health care for months. Nothing could be more important—well, almost nothing—but (judging by the few clicks our blogs get on the subject, far fewer than anything with sex or nudity in the title!) this has been one issue liberals have largely abandoned Obama on, out of boredom or not-getting-it—and we wonder why we lost the public option, or funding for abortions…if Obama had been able to get it done by August, his goal, when his popularity was high…his popularity (and therefore political strength) would still be strong, and the legislation would have been far stronger, too. […]

  11. […] and Atlantic, I was a lonely progressive voice defending Whole Foods when Mr. Mackey took on “Obamacare,” arguing in an infamous Wall Street Journal editorial that health care was not a […]

  12. […] continued calls for a boycott that first arose after he published an anti- “Obamacare” health care reform editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Whole Foods is an invaluable company that’s shown the […]

  13. […] (what’s left of it, an admittedly imperfect bill that will nevertheless grant coverage to 30 million more Americans who sorely need it, whatever idealistic Progressives and right-eous self-enthusiastic Libertarians […]

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