On Monday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was widely criticized for the announcement that he would have hernia surgery in Canada, a country with socialized medicine. Despite the hospital being private and specializing in hernias, critics cited Paul’s opposition to socialized medicine.
The surgery is related to an injury Paul suffered when his neighbor, Rene Boucher, attacked him while he was doing yard work, leaving him with six broken ribs and damage to his lungs, The Washington Times reports.
Boucher is reportedly being sued by Paul for $4,000 in medical expenses plus the costs of the hernia surgery. The Courier Journal reports the court documents cite the cost of the hernia procedure as ranging between $5,000 and $8,000. Boucher was sentenced to 30 days in prison for assaulting a member of Congress; federal prosecutors are reportedly appealing the case.
Paul’s lawsuit says that he will undergo an outpatient surgery in Canada later this month at Shouldice Hernia Hospital, which claims to be “the only licensed hospital in the world dedicated to repairing hernias.”
“This is a private, world renowned hospital separate from any system and people come from around the world to pay cash for their services,” Kelsey Cooper, a spokeswoman for Paul, told The Hill.
Paul’s chief strategist Doug Safford responded to the unwarranted outrage on Twitter.
“It is one of a handful of private hospitals grandfathered to exist outside their normal healthcare laws,” Safford added. “Try fact checking, it’s not hard.”
But this didn’t stop the critics.
“Sen. Rand Paul — one of the fiercest critics of socialized medicine — is heading to Canada for surgery,” The Daily Beast tweeted.
“[B]rave of rand paul to offer himself up as a guinea pig to showcase the savagery of socialized medicine,” Matt Binder, a reporter at Mashable wrote.
“Rand Paul, an outspoken critic of universal healthcare, is traveling to Canada for hernia surgery, where they have universal healthcare, because America’s health care system wasn’t good enough for a sitting US Senator,” John Aravosis, an editor for AMERICAblog wrote.
“Rand Paul, enemy of socialized medicine, will go to Canada for surgery,” Talking Points Memo tweeted from their official account.
Daniel Dale, a correspondent for the Toronto Star, responded to the criticism. “This isn’t really a good ‘gotcha,” he tweeted. “This hernia clinic, in my hometown of Thornhill, is one of a very small number of private, for-profit clinics that were grandfathered into Ontario’s socialized health system.”
“Shouldice is not socialized medicine — it’s a little bastion of capitalist medicine Canadian politicians allow to keep existing,” Dale added.
“It’s an opportunity for the Left to take a cheap shot at Rand for no reason, and without any facts on their side,” Safford told The Daily Wire. “It’s disgusting clickbait for them.”