Declared 2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidate

Former Governor of New Mexico

Gary Earl Johnson
Born: January 1st, 1953  (age 64)

Gary Johnson Profile

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  Health Care
      The First School of Thought
      The Second School of Thought
    H.R. 3590 Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
      PPACA Summary
      PPACA Criticisms
    Candidates' Positions on Health Care

Gary Johnson on Health Care

GARY JOHNSON: Here’s one for you, Joe. So, so welfare in New Mexico. I had a health insurance policy as Governor of New Mexico, okay. I mean, this is given to me, this is a perk. Being Governor, I had a health insurance policy, covers me and my family as Governor of New Mexico. We took all the welfare recipients in the state, and, which were a quarter of a million. And um. 200,000 people and did the math. Gee, what if we gave all of them my health insurance policy, as opposed to just paying the bills when it came to welfare?

Get it? I mean, everybody on welfare would receive my insurance policy as Governor of New Mexico. Would we really save 20%? Yes, we did that. We did that. And that’s what happened. And it’s (illegible)-

JOE ROGAN: So you saved 20%?

JOHNSON: Yeah, saved 20%. Uhm, and to this day, that is still in place. That was moving from fee-for-service, meaning if you were on welfare, and you went to the hospital, or you went to the emergency room, a bill was sent to the state, Medicaid, and the state paid that bill. Three-quarters of the bill gets picked up by the federal government, one quarter of it gets picked up by the state. But that’s Medicaid. Uhm, and by switching to an insurance model or managed care model, uhm, we saved 20% on the whole bill. I mean, it’s just common sense to the max. I mean, just really, flabbergasting.

ROGAN: Now, when you look at things like Obamacare, and the criticisms of Obamacare, and you look at what you’re trying to implement in your own state, what do you think could’ve been done differently?

JOHNSON: Well, I think that welfare, and Medicare, so healthcare for those over 65, I think the federal government needs to devolve both of these services to the states, Now, currently of course, healthcare for those over 65 is completely federal. But in my hearts of hearts, if the federal government would’ve block granted New Mexico with a fixed amount of money, just capped – by the way, this is just runaway expenditure, this is the worse runaway expenditure in the federal government today is Medicaid and Medicare. But if they would’ve just capped it, or the historical increase being 7%, if they’ve just given a couple percent increase to the state of New Mexico as opposed to let’s say, 7%, and said, “New Mexico, Governor Johnson, you are in charge of healthcare delivery to those that are poor, welfare, and healthcare to those that are over 65 and in my hearts of hearts, I believe that I could’ve delivered that, or seen over the administration of the delivery, of that healthcare.

So, if you did, if the federal government did that, and that’s the only way to reform Medicaid and Medicare, is devolve it to the states. Fifty laboratories of innovation, best practice, there would be some fabulous success, that would get emulated. There would be horrible failure that would get avoided. But as opposed to one size fits all of the federal government, we’d actually, we’d actually come up with solutions on how to cap, and, and, how to make, contain the cost within the system.

Talking about Obamacare, what we really need when it comes to healthcare, is just free market solutions to healthcare. And by the, healthcare, is as far removed from free market right now as it possibly can be. In a free market system for health care, we would have, we would not have, health insurance to cover ourselves for ongoing medical need. We would have health insurance to cover ourselves for catastrophic injury and illness, and we would pay as you go, in a system that would probably cost about one-fifth of what it currently costs. We would have ‘Gallbladders “R” Us’. We’d have gallbladder surgery for thousands of dollars as opposed to tens of thousands of dollars. We’d have ‘Stiches “R” Us’, we’d have ‘X-Rays “R” Us”. We’d have the radiologists next to uh, ‘X-Rays “R” Us” to read those x-rays. Um, at the end of the day, we would pay out of pocket for those services, and they would be a fifth of what they currently are.

ROGAN: So, in this sense what you’re saying is that right now, medical health care is kinda being subsidized by the government. It’s almost like an unrealistic amount of money is being spent on it. Is that what you’re saying?

JOHNSON: Well, right now, health insurance would be like having ‘grocerian’ insurance. Hey, you’ve got grocery insurance. Gee, I go to the supermarket, there’s no prices on any of the shelves ‘cause I got grocery insurance. Doesn’t matter what anything costs. Am I gonna buy a hamburger? Well, why should I buy a hamburger when I have grocery insurance when I can buy fillets?

ROGAN: (Illegible) by that logic, why does anyone doing differently because they have health insurance? It’s not like they’re getting extra treatments.

JOHNSON: Well, so in the, well, right now, um, Chief Justice Roberts, when he said that uh, that uh, Obamacare was a tax on people, my personal insurance premiums have quadrupled, and I have not seen a doctor in three years. I mean, so it’s a tax, for me, I’m subsidizing those that aren’t healthy. Um, I wish I didn’t have to have insurance to cover myself for ongoing medical need. I- look, we go in to the hospital right now. There’s no advertised pricing, you have no idea what you’re gonna pay. There is no statistics on the wall that says, “Hey, if you’re here for gallbladder surgery, you can expect a 99% outcome.” There’s none of that. If you had a free market approach to health care, you would have all of that. You’d have advertised pricing, and you would have, uh, um, outcomes based on, on, on prior patients that had gone in.

ROGAN: But there is an issue of people who do have injuries whether it’s catastrophic injury, whether it’s some sort of a disease that comes up, where the amount of money that they’re gonna have to spend for health care can be catastrophic. Astronomical.

JOHNSON: And, and, I started out by saying we would not have insurance to cover ourselves for ongoing need, but we would have insurance to cover ourselves for catastrophic injury and illness.

17 May, 2016: Gary Johnson on The Joe Rogan Experience (starting at 30:32)

PEDRO ECHEVARRIA: Joining us - Jacob in Nevada. Hello.

JACOB/CALLER: You really sold me on the Libertarian Party, but I have one question. How will smaller government help those under the poverty line pay high medical bills?

GARY JOHNSON: You hit on a couple of things - high medical bills. Medical bills are driven by the government. If we had a free market approach to health care - health care right now is about as far removed from free market as it could be. We would not have insurance to cover ourselves for ongoing medical needs. We would have insurance to cover ourselves for catastrophic injury and illness. And we would pay as you go in a system that would cost about one-fifth of what it currently costs right now. We would have ‘Gallbladders “R” Us’, “Stitching “R” Us and “X-Rays “R” Us. Come get your x-ray for $40 and 100% of our x-rays are readable and without mistakes. I use that as an example right now, you walk into a hospital or doctor's office, you have no idea what it is going to cost because you are not paying for it. Your insurance is and you know the costs that are billed never actually get paid. Chief Justice Roberts was right that the affordable health care act it really is a tax. My premiums have quadrupled and I have not seen a doctor in three years.

ECHEVARRIA: Would you advocate the dismantling of the law that currently stands?

JOHNSON: Yes, I would. I would be President of the United States and the reforms that are needed when it comes to health care to genuinely make it more affordable, to genuinely make it more affordable, you have to allow for competition. Government itself could actually involve itself in blowing the lid on the supply of doctors available, expanding medical school. There are a limited number of doctors, there could be a lot more doctors.

31 May, 2016: Gary Johnson with Pedro Echevarria on Washington Journal on (starting at 16:02)

GARY JOHNSON: So I oversaw the reform of Medicaid in New Mexico. Changed it from a fee-for-service model to a managed care model. Improved on the delivery of health care in New Mexico and saved hundreds of millions of dollars. I believe that as Governor of New Mexico, if the federal government would have given New Mexico forty three percent less money, put me in charge of the delivery of health care to the poor in New Mexico, that I could’ve done it with 43% percent less money. It would’ve taken away all the strings and mandates that went along with their Medicaid money.

I’m gonna make the same claim when it comes to Medicare. That I, as Governor of New Mexico, could have overseen delivery of health care to those over 65 with 43% less money if the federal government does away with all the strings and mandates associated with how to do that.

Right now, whenever you talk away a 43% reduction in Medicaid and Medicare, everybody’s like “You can’t do that. You can’t cut that much money from Medicaid and Medicare.” If we don’t cut Medicaid and Medicare, if we don’t make do with less in what I think can be a very efficient way, if we don’t that, I think we’re gonna find ourselves with nothing.

13 December 2011: Gary Johnson on Medicaid/Medicare reform: WMNF News

GARY JOHNSON: I’m promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013 that will detail a 43% reduction in Medicaid and Medicare. Before anybody falls of their chair, with regard to a 43% reduction in either of those categories, it’s important to point out that if we don’t balance the federal budget, we’re gonna find ourselves without any health care at all.

So as Governor of New Mexico, I oversaw the reform of Medicaid in New Mexico. Health care to the poor - changed it from a fee for services model to a managed care model, set up better health care network, saves hundreds of millions of dollars.

I believe that at the time, if the federal government would, were to have block granted the state of New Mexico 43% less money, done away with all the strings and mandates, that I could’ve effectively overseen the delivery of health care to the poor in New Mexico. I think the same model applies to Medicare. Fifty laboratories of innovation and best practice. The federal government has to give it up to the states.

7 April, 2012: Gary Johnson speaking at the Fort Worth Libertarian Party of Texas Presidential Debate

GARY JOHNSON: You got to start out by talking about Medicare and Medicaid. I'll just throw out some suggestions here. There are other, but let me just throw the fact that the federal government could cut Medicaid and Medicare by 43 percent…

… They could block grant the states. I'm going to say this throughout my campaign, 50 laboratories of innovation, the notion of best practices. Give it to the states to deliver health care to the poor and those over 65 and do away with the strings. Do away with that regulations - Let states handle it. There would be best practices emerge. Other states would emulate the best practices. They'd be failure. States would avoid the failure.

In New Mexico, Medicaid, now it came with all the strings attached. It came with all the regulation attached. It came with a mandate that here are the services that you had to deliver, but Medicaid in the State of Mexico, I shifted that from a fee for service model to a managed care model and saved 25 percent. If I were to have been given Medicare, I could have done the same thing with Medicare and saved 25 percent. By the way, I used 25 percent. I could have saved more money. I still could have delivered health care to those truly in need by cutting it 43 percent, I could have done that. But I was governor of the state. I had a legislature that was 2/3 Democrat and, you know, I wasn't the benevolent dictator."

27 May, 2011: Gary Johnson on ‘Hannity' Primary

SCOTT HOLLERAN: You told the Wall Street Journal last year that you support means testing for Medicare and Social Security, for which you said you would raise the eligibility age. In what specific ways would you cut entitlement programs to balance the budget?

GARY JOHNSON: Specifically, and this is waving the magic wand, because I recognize that there are three branches of government, I would have the federal government cut Medicare and Medicaid by 43 percent and block grant the programs [to the states] with no strings. Instead of giving the states one dollar—and it’s not really giving because there are strings attached—the federal government needs to give the states 57 cents, take away the strings and give the states carte blanche for how to give health care to the poor. I reformed Medicaid as governor of New Mexico and, in that context, even with strings attached, I believe I could have delivered health care to the poor. I believe I could have done the same thing with Medicare.


SCOTT HOLLERAN: Will you issue an executive order to repeal Obamacare as unconstitutional?

JOHNSON: Yes, if it’s possible. I would do the same for [President Bush’s Medicare] prescription [drug subsidies]. Two parties can take responsibility for where we’re at right now.

Aug 21, 2011: Interview with Gary Johnson,

Other Candidates on Health Care

Hillary Clinton
Jill Stein
Donald Trump

Gary Johnson on other Issues

Capital Punishment
Deficit and Debt
Federal Budget
Guantanamo Bay
Gun Control
Health Care
LGBT Issues
Minimum Wage
National Security
North Korea
Social Security

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