Howard Schultz on Health Care

Starbucks CEO; independent candidate for President until July 2019


Medicare-for-All: $32T cost is out of touch with reality

Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All proposal would strip health insurance coverage from more than 180 million Americans and cost taxpayers more than $32 trillion to implement. With no way to pay for it, no chance of getting bipartisan support in Congress, and the potential for significant ramifications in treatment and innovation, this proposal confirms what we already knew: Sanders and the far-left wing of the Democratic party are out of touch with reality. Being a leader requires making hard choices and being honest. Bernie Sanders' plan does neither and only serves to advance a far-left agenda.
Source: 2020 Presidential Campaign website HowardSchultz.com , Apr 10, 2019

ObamaCare is ok, but Medicare-for-All goes too far

Q: What about ObamaCare and Medicare-for-All?

A: We have a health care crisis in the country on many levels. The Republicans have done everything possible to eradicate the Affordable Care Act without offering any plan -- this is the far right. The far left is now suggesting Medicare for all. That is a $32 trillion number. Does anyone understand that Medicare-for-all also means that you will lose the choice of your doctor and your private insurance company?

Q: Your alternative?

One, I think everyone in America, every person deserves to have the right for affordable care. Second, there needs to be competition in the system so that the American people can get access to prescription drugs at lower prices, because right now the government is not allowed under a federal law to negotiate with pharma. Third thing has been tested but not proven yet about interstate commerce among insurance companies.

Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Feb 12, 2019

President must take responsibility for V.A.

The U.S. government does some great things but the V.A. isn't one of them. I will fix the V.A. and I will be personally accountable if I run for president and I'm fortunate enough to win. No one in decades has fixed the V.A. with an annual budget of $200 billion. It is criminal. We have layers and layers and layers of government bureaucracy. No one knows who's in charge. There's no transparency of records. Veterans are waiting weeks and months for prescription drugs. There's all kinds of problems.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Feb 12, 2019

False choice between socialized medicine & ObamaCare repeal

Today, millions of American people are living in fear of losing healthcare or going bankrupt if they get sick. The far Left has called for government-run healthcare, even eliminating the private health insurance market. The far Right has called to repeal the Affordable Care Act for nearly a decade, with no clear replacement, which would leave people vulnerable, especially those with pre-existing conditions, and costs would absolutely skyrocket. Once again, neither is a viable solution.

What's the truth? The truth is that healthcare costs are the biggest driver of unaffordable care. Yet neither side, extreme left, extreme right has offered and developed any kind of credible plan to reduce costs by increasing competition. Or requiring more transparency on prices from hospitals and drug companies. Or investing in preventive care. This is a problem that can be solved. We must bring down healthcare costs while increasing choice and access.

Source: Purdue Univ. speech on 2020 Presidential Campaign website , Feb 7, 2019

Keep employee health benefits during Great Recession

[During the Great Recession] Starbucks' stock price dipped below $7 a share. Around that time, I took a phone call from an anxious shareholder who managed money for a large financial institution.

"We feel very strongly that this is the time to cut the healthcare benefit." For years, Starbucks had been spending more money on healthcare coverage for our partners than we spent on coffee. Between 2000 and 2009, healthcare costs were up almost 50% per partner. "Everyone will understand you had no choice," he told me.

Of course, we had a choice, Yes, eliminating or reducing healthcare for our partners could immediately boost profits. Wall Street would cheer. But it would be utterly unfair to thousands of people and their families, and verge on inhumane. It would also sap spirits and breach trust. I knew we'd never recover.

Wall Street's failure to recognize future benefits of current expenditures is part of the short-term mentality that's become a systematic problem of modern-day capitalism.

Source: From the Ground Up, by Howard Schultz, p. 47 , Jan 28, 2019

Apply affordable healthcare to part-time employees

While the Affordable Care Act had made healthcare more accessible, it only required companies to provide healthcare insurance to employees working thirty or more hours a week. Starbucks provided it for people who worked as few as twenty hours. We could have easily changed our policy. Covering fewer people would have saved us millions of dollars a year and kept us in compliance with the new law. Instead, we chose to do the right thing, which was keeping thousands of part-time partners insured.
Source: From the Ground Up, by Howard Schultz, p.166 , Jan 28, 2019

Single-payer health care is a false promise

Schultz earned praise for the benefits he provided Starbucks retail workers, including health-care coverage options for part-time employees. But he also has signaled a willingness to break with Democratic orthodoxy. "We have to go after entitlements," he said in the CNBC interview last year. He also dismissed as "false promises" the proposals for single-payer health care and guaranteed federal jobs that have become popular on the left, saying that they were fiscally unworkable.
Source: Washington Post on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Jan 18, 2019

Expand coverage to include part-time employees

We expanded our health-care coverage to include part-timers who worked as little as 20 hours a week. In the late 1980s, employer generosity was hopelessly out of fashion. Corporate raiders and soaring health-care costs had forced many American executives to reduce benefits.

At the same time, health-care bills were soaring to unmanageable heights. Few companies covered part-time workers at all, and those who did restricted benefits to those working at least 30 hours a week. Most executives were actively looking for ways to contain their medical insurance expenses.

Starbucks went the other direction: Instead of cutting health-care benefits, we found a way to increase ours. I saw my plan not as a generous optional benefit but as a core strategy. Treat people like family, and they will be loyal and give their all.

We began offering full health benefits to all part-timers in late 1988. To my knowledge, we became the only private company--and later the only public company--to do so.

Source: Pour Your Heart Into It, by Howard Schultz, p.126-128 , Jan 6, 1999

Offer employee coverage for terminal illnesses

The true value of our health-care program struck me most deeply in 1991, when we lost one of our earliest & most devoted partners, Jim Kerrigan, to AIDS. Jim started as a barista in 1986 and rose to the position of store manager.

Then one day, Jim came into my office and told me he had AIDS. It took incredible courage. I had known he was gay but had no idea he was sick. His disease had entered a new phase, he explained, and he wouldn't be able to work any longer.

Starbucks had no provision for employees with AIDS. We had to make a policy decision. Because of Jim, we decided to offer health-care coverage to all employees who have terminal illness, paying medical costs in full from the time they are not able to work until they are covered by government programs, usually 29 months.

After his visit to me, I spoke with Jim often and visited him at the hospice. Within a year, he was gone. I received a letter from his family afterward, telling me how much they appreciated our benefit plan.

Source: Pour Your Heart Into It, by Howard Schultz, p.128-129 , Jan 6, 1999

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