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Earlier this week, Gary Johnson was recorded during a town hall in Chimayo advocating for the elimination of Medicaid in response to a question from a voter in the audience. When the voter pressed Johnson on how his proposal to eliminate Medicaid would cause New Mexicans to die, Johnson shrugged, responded that it, “may be a legitimate concern,” and offered no solution to their concern.

Publicly, Johnson has advocated for non-specific reform and even cutting programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. But at the town hall in Chimayo, Johnson advocated for eliminating Medicaid altogether, despite the idea that people would die if his plan were to be implemented.

The reality is that if Medicaid funding is cut and the expansion is rolled back, then by 2026 over 250,000 New Mexicans would lose their coverage. The state would also face an economic loss of $11 billion in federal funding and 32,000 jobs. Currently, Medicaid in New Mexico covers 900,000 children, adults, individuals with disabilities, and seniors, and brought in $4.3 billion in federal dollars in FY 2016.

“This video proves conclusively that not only does Gary Johnson want to eliminate Medicaid, but that he knows his proposal would have deadly consequences for New Mexicans,” said Marg Ellison, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “His comments are another example of Johnson’s lack of compassion for hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans who depend on Medicaid for life-saving health coverage.”

Transcript:

Question: So if the Government isn’t the one providing the health, who would fund those programs?

Gary Johnson: Well, if overnight you were able to completely eliminate Medicaid overnight. Which isn’t going to happen, but if you were able to do that, there’d be a lag in service - but then, when the lag caught up or when the private sector caught up with it - there’d be more services available than ever before.

That’s my theory and I think you can see that in any area where the government gets out of that area and the private sector is allowed to make their own decisions. Without exception.

Question: I’m just concerned with the amount of people that would potentially die during that time.

Gary Johnson: Well you know, and believe me that may be a legitimate concern. Maybe a very legitimate concern.

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