Grocery Shopping Lynch Mob

Creative Commons License photo credit: Andreanna

John Mackey–Should He Really Be Fired?

There is now a facebook group with 28,000 or so members, calling for John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods to be fired for his Wall Street Journal opinion editorial on health reform. I believe that even if someone disagrees with his prescription for improving America’s health, in a free society we all deserve to have a say on public policy issues of the day.  A better solution will emerge from a full exploration of the issues.

The boycott staged by angry proponents of the health reform bills, and those who who want Mackey fired, are trying to intimidate open debate and silence those who don’t agree with them.

By shutting down discourse and not fully debating all the issues, the U.S. of A will be the big loser. Political correctness is anathema to the First Amendment, the enemy of freedom of thought.

Thankfully, other voices of reason are stepping up to share other nuances about health reform that need to be considered.

Do You Want to Censor These Guys Too?  If So, Then You Really Need to Listen Even Harder to What They are Saying

Last night, Larry King Live interviewed Dr. Andrew Weil about the health reform proposals. Weil had some very interesting comments, such as he was not in favor of putting more money into a system that promoted pharmaceutical drugs so heavily. He pointed out that pharmaceuticals have a higher markup than any other commodity.  By the way, you all should see the Star Island mansion in Miami Beach, owned by the Pharma King who has the patent on Viagra. It is the biggest home on the island, eclipsing the homes of hollywood stars, music biz celebrities and NBA basketball stars. And do you actually know anyone who will admit to taking that drug?  Think about it.

“We need a deeper change than health reform, we need to become a healthier nation.”–Dr. Andrew Weil

I was thrilled to hear Dr. Weil echo Weston A. Price chapter leader, Janice Curtains #1 wish in her recent article, How to Cut the Cost of Health Care, that the U.S. should immediately end all television ads for pharma drugs.  We are the only nation besides New Zealand, he added, that allows such a thing. When you consider the cost of all that advertising (and they do dominate the airwaves), you might see why the markup on drugs is so aggressive. And, why Americans are so in the thrall of drug based solutions to their health problems.

He proposes the medical community start implementing low tech, cheaper approaches to disease, such as nutrition, exercise, herbs, vitamin and mineral supplements. He wants these lower cost treatments brought into the mainstream.  He says insurance companies are eager to reimburse for expensive drugs but loathe to reimburse for alternative health approaches.

Weil also assessed our nation’s approach to health as too heavily weighted toward intervention with not enough emphasis on prevention.

My favorite quote from the interview was, “Pharmaceutical companies are capitalizing on the mindset that the only legitimate treatment for health problems are drugs, how did we get to the point where doctors and patients all believe this?”

Hellooo! This is what I’ve been blogging about. Dr. Weil, you are welcome to blog for Natural Cures Tuesday anytime!

ho_fastfoodThe next voice of reason is Michael Pollan, who weighs in with the 800 lb gorilla totally ignored in the health care debate.  His opinion editorial yesterday says how can we target health insurance companies for reform, yet ignore the glaring reality that our food manufacturers may be at the root of this disease quagmire our nation is in. Hurray, Michael.  Here is a link to Pollan’s New York Times opinion editorial.

And, finally, Ron Paul, a medical doctor turned Congressman expresses doubts that this plan won’t bankrupt an already bankrupt nation. Here is the You Tube video of his comments on Larry King Live.

I am thankful these other voices have weighed in on this important issue, and hopefully we will end up with a rational solution to America’s health care woes. And, just maybe, Americans will take a good hard look at ourselves and decide to take better care of our individual health. Perhaps America will find its way to being a strong and truly healthy nation again…I can dream, can’t I?

And, perhaps the lynch mob will pipe down.  You can’t boycott Pollan (he’s a writer) and Weil is so wildly popular that it will be hard to stir up outrage against him. And Ron Paul, chances are they are not registered to vote in his state.

Kudos to Larry King to exploring the depths of this debate and not reducing it to partisan political sound bytes.

Photo credit- Ominvores Dilemma: jwalsh

This post has been submitted to the Fight Back Fridays blog carnival, see more fighting words, here!


  1. Kimberly Hartke says:

    Dr Weil also recommended astralagus root and some kind of asian mushroom as a low cost alternative to H1N1 vaccines. Larry King said, “Isn’t that pretty out there?” It was funny to see Larry King exposed to alternative health ideas. He was astounded!

  2. I’m not against any of the ideas that these people put out. In fact, I’m not consciously boycotting Whole Foods but in the summer it is so much easier to buy at the Farmer’s Market what I might normally purchase there AND we have this wonderful local coop that I try to patronize more.

    My issue with Mackey and Weil and why I don’t agree is that they don’t seem to want ANY reform unless it’s the full reform they are talking about. We have enough push back against a “public option” which is optional for people to buy into and most people would buy into it but for those without any insurance or any way to afford it, it would be government subsidized. So many of these people are marginalized through no fault of their own. They need help and can’t get access to it. This includes important laboratory tests like blood sugar levels.

    As a healthcare provider, what I see is that more people are interested in listening to the alternatives I can offer them (including dietary ideas) if their life depends upon it. Sad but true. If these people have no way of knowing that the reason they feel horrible is that their blood sugar is skyrocketing, they won’t get help unless they end up in an emergency room, thereby costing us more.

    I feel that Mackey and Weil are clouding the issue that we have before us now and that is so many Americans have NO ACCESS TO ANY KIND of healthcare.

    I am curious: has a wonderful video. They are for single payer (and actually have a link that shows cost effectiveness either on their site or an outside site they link to does it). However, as doctors they talk about the issues of working under Big Pharma and Big Insurance. As you have stated before that you are against the public option (right now I’m for it because we need something–I’ve worked in public health. It’s overwhelming to be at the level that I am–technically only a technician and having to try and deal with people who are so sick they needed major medical intervention years ago) but I’m wondering if we were talking about the kind of reforms that they were talking about (far more radical than a public option and because it’s single payer in theory there would be less choice) but because they want to reform the whole system does it become more palatable? In others words, are we in disagreement because I am too radical (the usual case) or because I am settling?
    .-= Bonnie´s last blog ..My Plan: Heal my Spleen Energy with Lacto Fermented Foods =-.

  3. i disagreed with Mackey’s general assumptions that people are solely responsible for their individual health. children are not. period. and sadly the food companies that make most of the un-real food on the shelves, are preying on ignorance of the parents who either know no better, or do know but are addicted to un-real, industrial food. food manufacturers should be paying fornational health care! they should have to put warning on pop tarts that say in big letters, alla cigarettes in Canada, “this isnt food,it can harm your childs health, eat at your own risk!”. i have been a single mom and was recieving public medical assistance and felt so blessed to be able to not worry that if we needed it, there was medical care available to us and that we wouldn’t have to sacrifice our precious foodmoney to go to the doctor, we wouldnt have to go into debt if we needed medical attention. i believe everyman,woman and child should be offered some sort of public option. maybe it could be simply major catasrophy insurance, like a 3000$ deductible for most folks, and the deductible could be much lower for poor people.
    .-= emily´s last blog ..The Real Food of Summer: veggies and butter! =-.

  4. I am beyond aggravated that nobody seems to want to address the elephant in the living room: the military health care system. I don’t mean the VA, I mean the one that serves active duty servicemembers, their spouses and children (and occasionally parents and in-laws), and retirees and their spouses.

    I spent the first 25 years of my life a beneficiary of that system. It is a single-payer system. Nowadays they have the TriCare insurance program for dependents and retirees who can’t go to a military facility for whatever reason, but that money still comes from Uncle Sam.

    Why does no one discuss this? It’s important. I happened to run across a post at the Heritage Foundation website that stated that as of 2007, the military health care budget was less than one-fifth of the entire D.O.D. budget for that year. Isn’t that impressive? That’s better than Medicare and Medicaid put together in the regular federal budget. I think they’re around one-fifth or a little bit higher and they don’t even cover everyone in the United States.

    I’m tired of everybody trying to re-invent the wheel. I don’t need an insurance company and I never did need one. I view health care as being a civil defense and national defense function just like the police and the firefighters and the military. We don’t hire insurance companies to pay for those. We don’t need them for medicine either.

    At the same time, we are the government’s bosses. If we were to have a single-payer program then it should pay for visits, tests, and procedures but the government should NOT have input into how citizens use it. The government doesn’t punish us for calling the police when we hear a noise outside at night. It doesn’t punish us for calling the fire department when Junior gets his head stuck in the staircase banister even though they are not responding to a fire. And nobody has yet punished a politician for sending our troops off to combat under false pretenses or for purposes other than our national defense–which has happened several times now, under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

    So all I want is to be able to go to the doctor for yearly checkups, get labs when I think something’s amiss, get surgery if I need it, etc., without going bankrupt for half my adult life. And I really don’t care if the insurance company employees lose their jobs. At least they’d have health coverage and some breathing room to get retrained into another industry. As of now, I have no such luxury. I’m not a bad person and I don’t deserve to die of an untreated condition.

    So John Mackey can stick it where the sun don’t shine. Because that’s what he’s saying–that we deserve to keep struggling and dying because we’re not cool like he is. It’s not like he even cares about what he’s doing. I read an interview with him once where he said, paraphrased, that his stores only carry organics because they’re the big In thing right now and if it didn’t make financial sense to carry them anymore, he wouldn’t. Ben and Jerry cared more about the public good than this joker does and the stuff they peddled wasn’t even good for anybody. That’s sad.


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