Whole Foods freaks out over CEO’s anti-Obama health care op ed

Below is Whole Foods’ apology to customers who are offended that they’re CEO and co-founder is using their company’s good name to try to kill Obama’s health care reform package. He wrote an op ed in the Wall Street Journal opposing real health care reform. He used the word “socialism.” Now Whole Foods is blaming it on the Wall Street Journal’s editor for choosing a bad title for the piece.

Oh? Did the WSJ also include the Thatcher quote at the beginning of the piece warning about the evils of socialism, against your CEO’s objections I’m sure? And did your CEO tell the WSJ not to include Whole Foods in the byline, but they did anyway? How about all the Republican talking points seeded throughout the entire piece – where did they come from?

Now Whole Foods would like you to believe that the piece actually supported health care reform. Yeah, the reform the man endorsed was eating your fruits and vegetables. Seriously. Read the piece. That’s his solution to America’s health care woes. Eat more fruit.

And oh we will. From Harris Teeter, and Safeway and everyone who isn’t taking our money in order to lobby for John Boehner and Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. Whole Foods thinks you’re chumps. You can read their letter after the jump, courtesy of reader Scott who wrote them to complain.

To our customers,

As you are aware, John Mackey wrote an Op/Ed piece that was published in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week on health care reform, one of the biggest and most emotional issues facing our country. John’s intent was to express his personal opinions — not those of Whole Food Market team members or our company as a whole. Still, it’s very clear that John’s piece offended some of our customers, other members of the communities we serve and some of our team members as well.

We offer you our sincere apology.

We’d like to clarify a few things that have been misinterpreted:

John’s Op/Ed piece was written in favor of health care reform.
In response to President Obama’s invitation to all Americans to put forward constructive ideas for reforming our health care system, John was asked to write an Op/Ed piece and he gave his personal opinion. 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. That was not John’s intention – in fact, John does not mention the President at all in his piece. John has posted the unedited piece to his blog where people can read it as it was intended.

Whole Foods Market has no official position on the issue.
That said, we have attempted to be part of the solution in health care reform for many years by providing innovative health care options to our team members. We believe that our high deductible medical insurance plan coupled with a company-funded HSA is an excellent way to empower team members to make their own health care choices.

John wanted to share our experience with others through his Op/Ed piece.
He believes that the specific ideas he put forward would improve access and cost of health care for more people. Because our plan has held down overall costs (relative to other plans), Whole Foods Market has been able to pay 100 percent of the premiums for our full-time team members — about 89% of our workforce. (Part-timers are eligible for the insurance plan too and pay the premium themselves.) Our team members vote on our plan every three years to make sure they continue to have a voice in our benefits.

Whole Foods Market has a 30-year track record of caring about our customers, team members and communities. From local loan programs to salary caps, from donations to non-profits to funding the Whole Planet Foundation, our innovative programs are created and designed by team members who care about their fellow citizens.

We all know there are many opinions on the health care debate, including inside our own company. As we, as a nation, continue to sort through this together, we are hopeful that both sides can do so in a civil manner that will lead to positive change for all concerned, and we thank you for sharing your opinions with us.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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