Election 2014

L.P. Candidate Sean Haugh Makes No Bones About His Support for Medicaid Expansion


Sean Haugh, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate
Sean Haugh, Libertarian for US Senate

Most of Sean Haugh's positions are pretty much what you would expect from a Libertarian Party candidate. Haugh, who's running for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, favors legalizing marijuana and opposes any restrictions on abortion. He says his top priority is to end "all war." But nestled among the unremarkable is one stance that's, well, not like the others. The Weekly Standard reports:

Asked if he thought it was a mistake to reject additional federal funding to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, Haugh replied, "I do."

"The rejection of the Medicaid expansion dollars—which on the surface you could kind of make a libertarian case for—but the end users have suffered."

The notion that choosing not to expand a massive welfare program is only "kind of" a libertarian thing to do is a bit of a head scratcher. Federal grants to the states for Medicaid and the Child Health Insurance Program totaled $265 billion in 2012. Under Obamacare, states can get even more money in exchange for agreeing to let a wider population, including non-disabled adults without children, into the program.

A number of states, including North Carolina, have opted to forgo the extra funds after the Supreme Court in 2012 issued a decision that safeguards their ability to do so without facing retribution from Washington.

Haugh's position seems to be that lawmakers in Raleigh were wrong for not voluntarily adding another 800,000-or-so people to their Medicaid rolls. In a July 12 Facebook post, the Senate hopeful went even further, implying that when states don't expand the program, "people die." As evidence, he linked to a news story about a North Carolina hospital that will soon be shuttered:

Vidant Health System executives cited North Carolina's decision not to participate in federally funded Medicaid expansion as a factor in the decision to close the hospital.

Haugh, who has worked in the hospital industry, talked about this issue at more length in a video for his campaign website. "As a libertarian, I definitely want to reform and eventually eliminate federal involvement in health care," he says in the video. "But I'll be damned if I'm going to throw grandma out on the street to accomplish that."

Update (11/02/14): Haugh takes issue with the Weekly Standard article linked above:

Haugh's Twitter response to my blog post

I've reached out to him and asked if he would clarify for the record where he stands on Medicaid expansion. So far he has declined to do so.

NEXT: Democrats are Running on the Wrong Issues

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  1. So he is from the BLUE wing of the Party?

    1. My brain hurts trying to grasp the rationale behind supporting a fiscally ruinous expansion of the state.

      1. ‘I’m all for reigning in the state, but…’
        ‘I’m all for freedom of speech, but…’
        ‘I’m all for the 2nd amendment, but…’

        No, you’re not.

      2. “But I’ll be damned if I’m going to throw grandma out on the street to accomplish that.”

        May I change that to the DERP wing of the Party?

      3. “My brain hurts trying to grasp the rationale behind supporting a fiscally ruinous expansion of the state.”

        One argument is that if all the states will agree to the Medicaid expansion, it will quickly bankrupt the Obamacare funding mechanism. As it stands, with only half the states expanding Medicaid, it means the proponents of Obamacare can point to the policy as fiscally sound.

    2. So he is from the BLUE wing of the Party?

      Maybe Reason should start overtly endorsing candidates!

  2. “As a libertarian, I definitely want to reform and eventually eliminate federal involvement in health care,” he says in the video. “But I’ll be damned if I’m going to throw grandma out on the street to accomplish that.”

    Poisoning the well doesn’t come off any better from a candidate who claims to want fiscal responsibility.

  3. Great. Another statist asshole who doesn’t know what “libertarian” means. We already have Wayne Allen Root.

    1. “Is Wayne Allen Root going to have to choke a bitch?”


  4. I think he makes a common point – if people have planned their lives so as to rely on Medicare for their old age, you can’t just cut them off. Any reform must have transition provisions to maintain benefits for those who were tricked into relying on the existing system.

    1. Now, I don’t know about this *expanding* benefits stuff.

      1. You did that on purpose didn’t you?

        1. What?

          1. I posted your point seconds after you did.

    2. But he’s not talking about scrapping what people planned on. He’s damning the state for not expanding a ruinous entitlement scheme.

    3. This is not a cutoff, it’s an expansion. And it’s not Medicare, it’s Medicaid.

      1. But other than those tiny errors, the point stands?

      2. I was watching his “grandma in the street” video.

  5. Another turkey from the LP. At least they fully vindicated my calls for libertarians to support Tillis instead of this joker.

    1. Between this and his support of restricting the 1st Am, Haugh sounds like a goddamn fool.

      1. He looks the part too. Fairly punchable face when he has that stupid grin on it.

    2. re: “Another turkey from the LP. At least they fully vindicated my calls for libertarians to support Tillis instead of this joker.”

      … back to a choice between socialism and a theocracy? Just like the last 3-5 Presidential elections?

      The “choices” still turn my stomach!

    3. @ Cytotoxic,

      Tillis? Really? Isn’t he a fairly liberal, big government politician?
      How would he differ from Hagan?

  6. Well no wonder the small government Republicans are trying to keep this progressive off the ballot!

  7. I guess Tarheel libertarians should vote Tillis or stay home.

  8. “But I’ll be damned if I’m going to throw grandma out on the street to accomplish that.”

    Sorry guys, this is my fault. I once threw my grandma out on the street during a Medicare debate. I didn’t think it would come back to haunt me.

  9. “…opposes any restrictions on abortion.”

    That’s libertarian?

    1. Sure, what’s more libertarian than designating a whole category of human beings as un-persons without human rights?

    2. I wondered about that statement too. It seems there’s a few, so called, libertarians that have no problem throwing the NAP out the window when it’s not convenient for them.

  10. *He says his top priority is to end “all war.” *

    So he has the intellectual heft of a beauty pageant contestent and the good looks of Stephen Hawking.

    Yup, can’t see why the LP isn’t dominating this and every election.

  11. Now I see where I was confused: I used to know a Sean Hough in LPNY. Writing of which, HTTPS the McDermott ad, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU6d1e…..e=youtu.be for “Huh?”

    1. It’s sad to see, but also gladdening. These are signs that libertarians have wised up & left LP.

      Out of all that could’ve been said about education, Common Core is the big deal, and charter schools threaten to have gov’t completely take control of children? Last I heard, enrolling in a charter school is voluntary. WTF does it mean for “the people” to do our own testing of hydrofracking? Maybe you could explain that the SAFE Act was about guns, just for non-activists who might’ve been watching. And Jimmy McMillian is whose endorsement you advertise?

      And the visuals! McDermott & the girl look so glum it’s like they’re walking to their deaths, when it’s just school. The time lapse effect just looks goofy. And the silent footage of McMillian talking behind McDermott is nuts.

  12. Maybe the Libertarian Party should just hold a raffle to see who is the candidate?

  13. Wow. I am beyond disappointed that Reason of all places would repeat this blatantly lying hatchet job from the Weekly Standard. If you think I am for Obamacare for a moment, you obviously have not been paying any attention to me at all. I appreciate you trying to dig to parse out why I might be quoted as making such an absurd point. Your mistake was in assuming there was anything reputable about the Weekly Standard article at all. Seriously, next time you something so wildly ridiculous as this article, maybe you’d want to check with some other sources before just assuming there’s any reality to it. Bad journalist. No donut.

    Just to give you an idea of how much of a dolt this reporter was, he also asked me if I was for abortion after 9 months.

    1. Who said you were for the ACA? You were quoted about Medicaid, and we have your video. What’s that got to do with the Weekly Standard‘s general practices?

    2. So you’re not for the ACA but you are for the expansion of Medicare?
      Also. What would be your cut off time for an abortion? If you say “no restrictions” then why wouldn’t the day after birth be acceptable too?

  14. Stephanie Slade is a fucking moron. What legitimate journalist writes a story without actually contacting the subject for comment rather than mindlessly repeating what another media outlet said? According to his Facebook feed, if she had contacted Haugh she would have been disabused of the notion that he was for the ACA or Medicaid expansion. Sloppy, sloppy reporting that has led to sloppy thinking on the part of commenters who haven’t bothered to do anything more than skim an article about another article that isn’t even accurate. One of the things I really enjoy about being a Libertarian is that the level of discourse and thought is generally higher than with the general populous. Not in evidence here.

  15. Haugh has been a hospital administrator. A fundamental fact of hospital life is that state law requires that people whose lives are in danger have to be treated regardless of ability to pay. Medicaid exists in order that hospitals get some money for treating the indigent having life threatening conditions. Medicaid “saves lives” only to the extent that it covers treatment for people whose condition falls short of life threatening, and to the extent that doctors and hospitals accept Medicaid reimbursement rates. I suspect that public hospitals grudgingly accept treating patients at the Medicaid rate. Doctors are free to treat indigent patients only if the latter are willing to pay the difference between what the doctors charge and what Medicaid pays. And it is my impression that a fair number of American doctors do this, at least some of the time, although probably not the house staff at public hospitals.

    Haugh is probably correct that advocating the pure libertarian line on health care makes one unelectable. Few people are aware that before 1940, American doctors tailored their fees to what they believed the patient could afford. I am told that my great grandfather (1861-1923) did this, and was admired for it.

  16. “So far he has declined to do so.” I think the author has mistaken a frantically busy schedule for a decline.

  17. Sean Haugh is both an idiot and an asshole. If Eric Dondero didn’t already own the title, Haugh could be called “A Real Life Master Shake.” (See: http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle200…..13-04.html )

    A libertarian activist recently sent this to my email (with a link to this fine article on Haugh): “This is the same assclown who cost us a lot of money on petition drives, and who also cost the Libertarian Party ballot access in several places.”

    I can only assume he’s referring to Pennsylvania (and several other States) in 2008, when Haugh was being used by Bill Redpath to curtail ballot access for the State Legislative Candidates there. The longtime libertarian activists had poured into the state, and were gathering signatures for (1) The Full Slate of Statewide Candidates (2) Local State Legislative Candidates. They were in the process of putting the first of 5 State Legislative Candidates on the ballot. For those of you who are very new to political strategy (or have no ability to comprehend it), State Legislative seats are easier to win than Statewide positions such as governor or even larger seats like US congress.

  18. In any event, Sean Haugh told all those dedicated libertarian activists that their pay was being cut in half (they were already working for free for the local candidates). Haugh also told them that they would now have to turn in their signatures to a mercenary Democrat petition coordinator (who operated exclusively out of Philadelphia, and had refused to place a single one of the 5 State Legislative candidates on the ballot). This same Democrat mercenary was later responsible for incurring $175,000 of legal fees against the LP of PA. This same Democrat is a friend of Haugh’s. This same Democrat told LP petition signers in (more conservative) North Dakota in 2013 that “Edward Snowden is a traitor and should be executed for treason.” Kickbacks? Politics as usual? I suspect so, but have no proof. (Haugh reported ballot access expenditures that were highly suspect to the LP treasurer of the time, and he recorded them without knowledge of their accuracy.) Say it isn’t so, LP!

    So, those dedicated Libertarian activists left the State of Pennsylvania, and worked in other states, and the LP lost ballot access for 5 winnable offices, so they could throw losing candidates at the wall. None of them stuck (the same way Haugh’s most recent candidacy is now a fading exercise in paper candidacy).

  19. I remember Haugh’s very unreasoned temper tantrums well, and if he quietly fades away, the LP is well rid of him. Had he somehow won the election, I would have had to resign my LP membership in disgrace.

    I’m glad Stephanie Slade pointed out the fact that Haugh is an embarrassment to the term “libertarian.” I’m also glad that Haugh bitched about it above, because it calls attention to the fact that an abject idiot and loose-cannon doesn’t ever know when to shut up and be glad that the readers don’t know more than what they do. Haugh is a pseudo-libertarian nutbar, plain and simple.

    The “derpertarian” comment made me laugh out loud. Sadly, “Mr. Derp” from South Park would have made a far more credible candidate than Sean “Emperor” Haugh.


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