An "Organic" Alternative to Obamacare?

My wife shops at Whole Foods. I routinely rib her for this because she is a sucker for anything labeled "Organic."

But, after reading John Mackey's editorial in today's WSJ "The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare," I need to encourage her to go to Whole Foods more often. Mr. Mackey is CEO of Whole Foods Market, Inc. and he is making more sense on health care reform than anyone within the District of Columbia.

He quotes Margaret Thatcher as his lede: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

Nuff said, but it is Mr. Mackey's list of common sense reforms that should be capturing the eye of Republicans in Washington, D.C. looking for a playbook. They can't ride the coattails of the so-called "angry mobs" (right now in heaven Sam Adams is smiling and perhaps raising a toast to these guys, "keep it up!") the whole way. To really put a stake in the heart of Obamacare, and perhaps the Democratic majority, the GOP needs to offer a compelling alternative.

Well, Mr. Mackey has served it up on a silver platter. Here is a sampling:

  • Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs).
  • Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state, and we should be able use that insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.
  • Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.
  • Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many people know the total cost of their last doctor’s visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us?

These are brilliant common sense ideas. I know that President Obama and the Democrats are too far in the tank for their plan to even consider these ideas. The question is whether the GOP will come together and articulate its own ideas. 2010 is shaping up to be a very friendly year for Republicans. But, they can't fool themselves into thinking that public fatigue over the liberal Democrats agenda alone will be enough to cause a loss of the House or Senate or both.

They need compelling ideas! Mr. Mackey has just given them some! Let's hope they listen.



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