Thursday, January 28, 2010

Not Making Things Better

mackey, whole, foods, discrimination, health care,
Okay, it's well established I'm not a fan of Bob Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods.

His latest idea to "fix" health care (from AmericaBlog) is spectacular:

Keep in mind that the guy who runs Whole Foods is a right-wing Republican nutjob. His latest brilliant idea is to give employees greater in-store discounts if they have lower blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, and don't smoke. The idea is interesting, but also a bit unnerving. I have low blood pressure (good low blood pressure), but it's not because of anything I've ever done. It simply is. I've also been relatively skinny most of my life, again simply because I am. Why should I get more employee benefits for things I had zero control over? And an even bigger question, what does the Americans with Disabilities Act have to say about employers who decrease employee benefits based on their physical maladies (high blood pressure and high cholesterol)?

This is insane. I have no control over having porphyria. None. It's a genetic quirk, nothing more. So, because my blood pressure randomly skews from dangerously low to ER-doc-says-holy-shit! high, I will get a lower in store discount. I have done nothing to maintain my low weight (BMI) and low cholesterol. In fact, considering the crap that I tend to eat, I should have high both.

Things like blood pressure, BMI and cholesterol are far less controllable than you might think. My mother has had high cholesterol forever, and has been eating an extremely low fat diet forever. Her body pumps out way too much cholesterol. She can't control it. One of the lawyers here at work has a fantastic BMI, and dangerously high cholesterol. He eats right, exercises daily, and has had several stents put in. Another lawyer has a terrible BMI and fantastic cholesterol and blood pressure. He drinks scotch, smokes cigars, eats fatty foods, and according to his doctor, has the vascular system of a man half his age.

I think Bob Mackey should just go for it. I mean, high blood pressure and obesity are more common in African Americans, so let's give them a lower discount than whites. Latinos are more subject to diabetes, so they'll get a lower discount, too. Women are the only ones who get ovarian and cervical cancer, so they should get a lower discount as well.

I mean, if you're going to be discriminatory, own it. Go all the fucking way.


  1. Wow, I try to stay active, playing Basketball (I should work out more). I also try to eat as healthy as I can. My dad's side of the family is genetically predisposed to high cholesterol, my dad has it and his brother had a heart attack because of it (and smoking). So I get a lesser discount because I am genetically predisposed to one of these random criteria? That is sane...

  2. You're absolutely right. While people should indeed strive to eat healthy and exercise, there are other factors that contribute to our health. Mr. Mackey is overstepping. If he is truly interested in promoting better health, he should probably consider putting his time and money toward educating kids about healthy choices.

  3. I am so bummed that my double set of celiac genes is gonna bar me from getting a good discount in Whole Foods. And ll that gluten free stuff is so pricey, too. Just like that sugar-free stuff. Yeah, I really could have used the discount to assist me in bearing the cost/burden of not worsening my fecking health by eating things that are bad for me because they are more affordable. Sigh. :(

    “Community, Identity, Stability."

  4. or the state could subsidize healthy food. But that's just a silly socialist idea...

  5. or the state could subsidize healthy food. But that's just a silly socialist idea...

    The only foods the state subsidizes are corn. So that the rich (i.e. pretty much anyone in a developed nation) can put it in to their cars while eating sugary snacks made out of processed high fructose corn syrup and become fat while the rest of the world starves. Alternately, agribusiness is also paid to not grow food so as to keep food prices up. While the rest of the world starves.

    Really, it's a brilliant system.

  6. ::Ahem::

    Me fails English? That's unpossible!

  7. Or, based on how the poor tend to be far less healthy than the rich, Mackey could simply give the poorest of his employees a greater discount for healthy foods. Better yet, give them a weekly "handout" of healthy stuff...


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