Read the Case Study: The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare, located on page 20 of the textbook

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Read the Case Study: The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare, located on page 20 of the textbook.

Write a paper of approximately 750 words that will include three separate writing projects:

  • The first will be a brief letter (approximately 250 words) in which you pretend to be John Mackey responding to a major supplier of Whole Foods that has threatened to terminate business dealings because of the controversial op-ed piece.
  • The second will be a statement (approximately 250 words) that you will read at the next Whole Foods board of directors meeting to explain your decision to write the op-ed piece and your subsequent handling of the resulting publicity.
  • The third will be your analysis (approximately 250 words) of whether Mackey's Op-ed article and his response afterward showed that he properly applied the four steps in the strategic communication process:
    • Identify the purpose
    • Analyze the audience
    • Consider the context
    • Analyze the method
    • Examine which steps (if any) he took and which (if any) he missed

 

 

 

Article of page 20 of textbook

Case Study: The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare

The Wall Street Journal

OPINION AUGUST 11, 2009, 7:30 P.M. ET

“Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit.”

—John Mackey

“The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

—Margaret Thatcher

With a projected $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009, several trillions more in deficits projected over the next decade, and with both Medicare and Social Security entitlement spending about to ratchet up several notches over the next 15 years as Baby Boomers become eligible for both, we are rapidly running out of other people’s money. These deficits are simply not sustainable. They are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation, or they will bankrupt us.

While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment. Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:

  •  Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). The combination of high-deductible health insurance and HSAs is one solution that could solve many of our health-care problems. For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week (about 89% of all team members) for our high-deductible health-insurance plan. We also provide up to $1,800 per year in additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees’ Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness.
    Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their own health-care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan’s costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of worker satisfaction.
  •  Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair.
  •  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 to use that insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.
  •  Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.
  •  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?
  •  Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.
  •  Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?

Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That’s because there isn’t any. This “right” has never existed in America

Even in countries like Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries 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.

Although Canada has a population smaller than California, 830,000 Canadians are currently waiting to be admitted to a hospital or to get treatment, according to a report last month in Investor’s Business Daily. In England, the waiting list is 1.8 million.

At Whole Foods we allow our team members to vote on what benefits they most want the company to fund. Our Canadian and British employees express their benefit preferences very clearly—they want supplemental health-care dollars that they can control and spend themselves without permission from their governments. Why would they want such additional health-care benefit dollars if they already have an “intrinsic right to health care”? The answer is clear—no such right truly exists in either Canada or the U.K.—or in any other country.

Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health.

Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.

Whole Food’s Facebook Response

Whole Foods August Stock Price

Source: Yahoo! Finance

Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age.

Health-care reform is very important. Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices. We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society.

Mr. Mackey is co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market Inc.

Endnotes

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Kanter, R. M. (1989). The new managerial work. Harvard Business Review67, 85–92.

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Keys, B. & Case, T. (1990). How to become an influential manager. Academy of Management Executive4, 38–50, p. 38.

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Keys, B. & Case, T. (1990). How to become an influential manager. Academy of Management Executive4, 38–50, p. 39.

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French, J. R. P. & Raven, B. (1959). The bases of social power. In D. Cartwright (Ed.), Studies in social power. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research.

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Rost, J. C. (1991). Leadership for the 21st century. New York: Praeger.

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Marion, R. & Ulh-Bien, M. (2001). Leadership in complex organizations. Leadership Quarterly, 12(4), 389–418.

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Carmeli, A., Ben-Hador, B., Waldman, D. A. & Rupp, D. E. (2009). How leaders cultivate social capital and nurture employee vigor: Implications for job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(6), 1553–1561; Fletcher, J. K. (1999). Disappearing acts: Gender, power and relational practices at work. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press; Fletcher, J. K. & Kaeufer, K. (2002). Shared leadership: Paradox and possibility. In C. L. Pearce & J. A. Conger (Eds.), Shared leadership: Reframing the hows and whys of leadership (pp. 27–45). Sherman Oaks, CA: Sage Publications; Tsui, A. S., Pearce, C. L., Porter, L. W., & Tripoli, A. A. (1997). Alternative approaches to employee-organization relationship: Does investment in employees payoff? Academy of Management, 40(5), 1089–1121; and Williams, M. (2007). Building genuine trust through interpersonal emotion management: A threat regulation model of trust and collaboration across borders. Academy of Management, 32(2), 595–621.

9.

Fletcher, J. K. (1998). Relational practice: A feminist reconstruction of work. Journal of Management Inquiry, 7(2), 163–186, p. 169.

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Kotter, J. P. (1990). A force for change: How leadership differs from management. New York: Free Press.

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Zaleznik, A. (1977). Managers and leaders: Are they different? Harvard Business Review55, 67–78.

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Higgs, M. & Rowland, D. (2005). All changes big and small: Exploring approaches to change and its leadership. Journal of Change Management, 5(2), 121–152; Rowland, D. & Higgs, M. (2008). Sustaining change: Leadership that works. Chichester: Jossey-Bass.

13.

Weick, K. (1979). The social psychology of organizing (2nd ed.). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley; Eisenberg, E. M. (1984). Ambiguity as strategy in organizational communication. Communication Monographs51, 227–242; Conrad, C. (1985). Chrysanthemums and swords: A reading of contemporary organizational communication theory and research. Southern Speech Communication Journal50, 189–200.

14.

Frost, P., Moore, L., Louis, M. Lundberg, C., & Martin, J. (1991). Reframing organizational culture. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

15.

Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1967). The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Harpswell, ME: Anchor.

16.

McLaughlin, K., & Martin, T. (2009). As sales slip, Whole Foods tries health push. The Wall Street Journal, August 5, Eastern Edition: B1, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124941849645105559.html.

17.

Smith, E. (2005). John Mackey. Texas Monthly, March, http://www.texasmonthly.com/preview/2005-03-01/talks.

18.

Whole Foods company history. Whole Foods Web site, www.wholefoodsmarket/company/history.

19.

EPA. (2007). Top 25 partners in the green power partnership. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, January 8.

20.

Alsop, R. (2007). How boss’s deeds buff a firm’s reputation. The Wall Street Journal, January 31, http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB117019715069692873-92u520ldt 3ZTY_ZFX442W76FnfI_20080131.html?mod=blogs.

21.

Two Austin firms make Fortune 100. Austin Business Journal, January 8, 2007, http://austin.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2007/01/08/daily7.html?surround=lfn.

22.

Mackey, J. (2010). Creating the high trust organization. Whole Foods Web site, March 9, http://www2.wholefoodsmarket.com/blogs/jmackey.

23.

Peace, love and profit—meet the world’s richest organic grocer. The Observer, consulted July 17, 2007, http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2006/jan/29/foodanddrink.organics.

24.

Conversations from the corner office. Marketplacehttp://marketplace.publicradio.org/segments/corneroffice/corner_mackey_bio.html.

25.

Peace, love and profit.

26.

Ibid.

27.

Rethinking the social responsibility of business. Reason Magazine, October 2005, http://reason.com/archives/2005/10/01/rethinking-the-social-responsi.

28.

Peace, love and profit.

29.

Little, A. (2004). The Whole Foods shebang. Grist Magazine, December 17, http://www.grist.org/article/little-mackey.

30.

FLOW: About us. FLOW, January 2006, http://www.flowidealism.org/Home/about-us.html.

31.

McLaughlin & Martin. As sales slip, Whole Foods tries health push.

32.

Kesmodel, D., & Wilke, J. R. (2007). Whole Foods is hot, Wild Oats a dud—so said “Rahodeb.” The Wall Street Journal, July 12, http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB118418782959963745-rGivZMgAG2jUzji0DYY7yEoEaF0_20070719.html?mod=blog.

33.

FTC seeks to block Whole Foods Market’s acquisition of Wild Oats Markets. Federal Trade Commission Web site, News, June 5, 2007, http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/06/wholefoods.shtm.

34.

Mackey, J. (2008). The CEO’s blog, back to blogging. Whole Foods Web site, May 21. Accessed September 25, 2009, http://www2.wholefoodsmarket.com/blogs/jmackey/2008/05/21/back-to-blogging/#more-26.

35.

Organic Foods – US – October 2008. Mintel Reports. Accessed September 30, 2009, http://reports.mintel.com/sinatra/reports/display/id=226495.

36.

Ibid.

37.

Gogoi, P. (2008). The rise of the locavore. Bloomberg Businessweek, May 20, http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/may2008/db20080520_920283.htm.

38.

Stolberg, S. G., & Herszenhorn, D. M. (2009). Two sides take health care debate outside Washington. New York Times, August 2, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/03/health/policy/03healthcare.html.

39.

Ibid.

40.

Health insurance consumer protections. The White House Web site, 

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