Whole Foods CEO Faces Backlash After Saying Americans Don’t Need Healthcare But Better Eating Habits

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is by no means a healthcare expert and yet he believes he has the solution for your medical needs–eat better.

In an interview on Freakonomics Radio, Mackey said Americans don’t need healthcare, they just need better diets and exercise routines.

“I mean, honestly, we talk about health care. The best solution is not to need health care,” Mackey said.” The best solution is to change the way people eat, the way they live, the lifestyle, and diet…There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be healthy and have a longer health span. A bunch of drugs is not going to solve the problem.”

The interview went viral on social media on Tuesday after it was reported by financial news site CNBC. It didn’t take long for people to criticize Mackey’s argument, many pointing out that people can very well eat vegetables every day but still will not be immune to sickness….i.e. COVID-19, cancer, preexisting conditions, and a slew of other medical needs.  

But this isn’t the first time Mackey has received backlash for his stance on health-related issues. In 2009 in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, he wrote an article against Obamacare and the idea that healthcare should be an “intrinsic ethical right,” and instead said it was a service best rendered “through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges.” 

Mackey was in the spotlight again recently when the pandemic hit, this time for his lack of protection to his employees. Concerned about COVID-19, Whole Foods employees began asking for guaranteed sick leave, but instead of granting them leave, Mackey encouraged them to donate sick days to each other instead. Whole Foods workers then staged a “sick out” demanding that the grocery store give employees to double their normal wages as hazard pay for working on the frontlines during a pandemic.