As most of corporate America sits on the health-care sidelines -- issuing vague statements, trying not to offend a new U.S. president -- Mr. Burd has charged into the political debate. "I'm here because health-care simply isn't a partisan issue," he says. There is what works, and what doesn't. "I'm genuinely concerned someone might try to solve this by nationalizing health care, at the moment we at Safeway have proven that it is the market that reins in costs."
Prove it, he can. As recently as 2004, Safeway was suffocating under health-care costs growing at 10% a year. Mr. Burd, who had long been intellectually and politically drawn to the health-care issue, decided it was time to hit the restart button. He blew up the company's existing health-care structure and replaced it with one that embodied market principles -- choice, responsibility, competition and price.
Today, Safeway has accomplished what Washington claims is the goal: The company's per-capita health-care expenses have remained flat, compared to the near 40% increase experienced by the rest of corporate America over the past four years. This has not been done by cutting care or shifting costs to employees. Nearly 80% of the 30,000 nonunion Safeway workers who take part in the program rate it good, very good, or excellent. [snip]
Rock Is Dead. Long Live Scissors!
"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)