Americans have been presented with a solution for expensive healthcare by John Mackay, CEO of Whole Foods. Mackay has advised people to eat better and lead a balanced lifestyle so as to avoid healthcare woes.
Advice to Eat Better
In an episode on Freakonomics Radio released on November 4th, John Mackay explained his stance. He posited that the best thing is to not need healthcare. He suggested several changes in daily life that people can integrate to work towards this goal.
The CEO highlighted the serious health issues faced by Americans. 71% of Americans are overweight and 42.5% are obese. “Clearly, we’re making bad choices in the way we eat. It’s not a sustainable path. And so, I’m calling it out,” Mackay said.
Mackey stated people should change the way people eat, the way they live, the lifestyle, and their diet. “There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be healthy and have a longer healthspan. A bunch of drugs is not going to solve the problem,” he said.
According to Nadereh Pourat, a professor at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, advising people to lead healthy lifestyles is a fundamental concept. She claims it is true that a poor diet can lead to expensive treatments. Cardiovascular diseases cost $351 billion annually while diabetes costs $327 billion.
Mackey’s Recurring Comments
The approach adopted by the Whole Foods CEO has appeared before the public eye before. Mackay argued against healthcare being an “intrinsic ethical right” in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in 2009. Instead, he advocated healthcare to be a service best rendered “through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges.”
In 2009 Mackey had rallied against the Affordable Care Act. He claimed that the legislation would “create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system.”
Mackey’s stance has brewed a storm of controversy among Americans. His advice to eat better overlooks issues of food apartheid, poverty, and people being driven to rely on food banks during the pandemic.
Pourat elaborates how factors other than diet can equally lead to adverse health conditions. These factors include genetics, adverse life events, exposure to chemicals, and many more. The current pandemic situation poses another health factor not influenced by healthy diets.
A policy change in 2019 has exempted part-time employees at Whole Foods from health benefits. Whole Foods told CNBC that the change affected “less than 2 percent of its employees”. The employees would be presented with alternative health care options.