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Whole Foods Back Pedals Opposition to Health Reform

But Exec Fuels Fire by Referencing Trigger Words Like Socialism and Rationing

August 15, 2009. Venice-- Oh what a difference a couple of pissed-off customers makes.

Local meet-and-greet food outlet Whole Foods is back-pedaling on an op-ed penned by John Mackay, the company's CEO. Writing in the Wall Street Journal Mackay appeared to oppose health care reform.

But an official statement from the company's customer communications team now claims that "John's Op/Ed piece was written in favor of health care reform" and offered angry consumers "our sincere apology."

An e-mail sent to store patrons who had written the chain protesting MacKay's op/ed went on to say "John titled the piece 'Health Care Reform,' but an editor at the Journal rewrote the headline to call it 'Whole Foods Alternative to Obamacare,' which led to antagonistic feelings by many."

But a re-read of MacKay's piece would leave one hard pressed to say that MacKay in anyway supports the Presidents quest, or that it attempts to decreases the level of rage instigated by charged vocabulary words regarding the issue.

MacKay repeats the notion that health care reform will lead to quote unquote government bureaucrats making health care decisions and rationing treatments.

"Citizens in [the UK and Canada] are told by government bureaucrats what health-care treatments they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them. All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments," he says.

But MacKay neglects to state several facts in his piece. Most predominantly that the "public option" being proposed in health care reform is just one option for health insurance buyers. The insurance menu will continue to offer every citizen private insurance company policies. In addition, the government will provide a plan should individuals choose to sign up with it. That program will be run by health care experts. MacKay fails to mention that bureaucrats already ration medical care for--staffers employed by private insurance corporations today.

So Cal Residents Line Up at the Inglewood Forum for Free Health Care
The controversy surrounding MacKay's op-ed piece comes as Remote Area Medical, a non-profit that dispenses medical attention to impoverished Third World countries spends a week in the Los Angeles area assisting Southern California poor.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Steve Lopez notes: "At the Forum, [...] patients included a diabetic amputee who had not been able to buy his medicine for months, a retiree who couldn't afford an X-ray for a lung problem, and a 30ish female diabetic with a kidney ailment so serious that [a doctor] called for an ambulance to take her to a hospital."

No word yet on whether Whole Foods provided pastries for the volunteer medical teams or if the store was providing vouchers for healthy food for clinic attendees.

Thanks to Venice local Denise Stewart for sending us the Whole Foods Customer Communication Team's e-mail.

To read Steve Lopez' column in its entirety go to:

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