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Whole Foods CEO healthcare Op-Ed spurs boycott

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wholefoodsMaybe Whole Foods Chief Executive John Mackey should stay away from the keyboard and stick to selling gourmet groceries.******The CEO’s recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal suggested alternatives to healthcare proposals being batted around in the nation’s capital.******Among other things, he asserted that healthcare is not a right and called for ”less government control and more individual empowerment.”******His view got some of the chain’s historically liberal customers so hot under the collar that they have threatened to go elsewhere for their organic apples.******The company’s own healthcare reform forum has more than 14,000 posts. Twitter users are opining on the subject.******And the Boycott Whole Foods group on Facebook, which has attracted more than 20,000 members, is planning to picket stores in Washington, D.C. and the company’s hometown of Austin, Texas, on Friday.******According to the Facebook group, which also dings the company for not having unions, Mackey is ”suggesting that healthcare is a commodity that only the rich, like him, deserve.”******In his own blog, published shortly after the editorial ran, Mackey pinned some of the blame on changes made by those darn headline editors.******”I wrote this Op/Ed piece called simply ‘Health Care Reform.’ An editor at the Journal rewrote the headline to call it ‘Whole Foods Alternative to Obamacare,’ which led to antagonistic feelings by many.”******He continued: “While I am in favor of health care reform, Whole Foods Market as a company has no official position on the issue.”******This isn’t the first time Mackey, the scribe, has caused a flap.******For several years ending in 2006, Mackey used the pseudonym “rahobed” on Yahoo Finance stock forums to talk up Whole Foods shares and his performance as CEO. He also trash talked competitors like Wild Oats. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigated for nearly a year but eventually ruled out any action.******Whole Foods acquired Wild Oats in 2007 and just recently settled an antitrust case with the same federal government that Mackey says should keep its hands off healthcare.******(Photo/Reuters)

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