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Monday, October 19, 2009

Whole Foods Health Care

As an employer, health care is an issue I've had to deal with for years, with increasing frustration.

The single biggest problem with health care is the de-coupling of payment from the patient in medical purchases. This started with government price and wage controls during World War II. In order to attract and keep talent without increasing pay, employers began providing health insurance. This created a layer of insulation between the need for health care and it's purchase decision. HMOs, co-ops and other government programs have all added more layers which just made things worse.

Many of you have heard me say, "Only insure risk you CAN'T afford to take". The natural exception would be if you are a worse than average risk, but we all at least TRY to live a healthy life, right?

The positive inverse of this rule is, "SELF-insure as much risk as you can". This allows YOU to keep the profit of the insurance company. It makes no sense to "insure" minor medical care such as eye or dental visits, unless you are a group of blind people with bad teeth - but then the insurance company would reject you anyway. The point is, stay connected with your purchase of health care as much as possible. Shop your doctors. YOU are the most likely person to control health costs.

John Mackey has reached the same conclusion at Whole Foods. And he's found an effective solution. He has not solved ALL of health care's problems. There is still litigation, end of life triage and defensive medicine to deal with. But he's made a start. THIS is the model we should be studying. Health care is NOT something with which the government should be involved.

Whole Foods Puts Its Mouth Where the Money Is - 02-01-10

Reason.tv on John Mackey's Health Care Solution

Let me know what YOU think!

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