Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of the most vocal libertarians in Congress, is reportedly headed to Canada later this year to receive hernia surgery and it's pretty clear that a lot people on Monday are going to be calling him out for this.
While building a career on promoting the libertarian myth of what Paul and others like to call the "free market," the "irony of it" was just too rich that he would travel to Canada, which enjoys a socialized, single-payer healthcare system, to have the procedure performed.
— NC For Bernie (@NCForBernie) January 14, 2019
According to the Louisville Courier Journal:
He is scheduled to have the outpatient operation at the privately administered Shouldice Hernia Hospital in Thornhill, Ontario during the week of Jan. 21, according to documents from Paul's civil lawsuit against Boucher filed in Warren Circuit Court.
Shouldice Hernia Hospital markets itself as "the global leader in non-mesh hernia repair," according to the clinic's website.
While Shouldice Hernia Hospital is privately owned — like many Canadian hospitals — it receives a majority of its funding from the Ontario government and accepts the Ontario’s Hospital Insurance Plan.
"Do as I say, not as I do," said in Kat Brezler, co-founder of Organizing for Bernie and a public school teacher in the Bronx, in response to the news about Paul's surgery.
When a “libertarian” goes for some socialized medicine
Do as I say, not as I do, the leading message from the patriarchy.
— KatBrezler (@KatBrezler) January 14, 2019
Hypocracy, thy name is Rand Paul. The Kentucky Senator who once equated socialized medicine to slavery is traveling to Canada for hernia surgery. https://t.co/PrDMcS5fKy
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— Jordan Treece (@JTreece406) January 14, 2019
While Kelsey Cooper, a spokesperson for Paul, characterized the story as "fake news," the facts remain: Paul is headed to get surgery in a country that he has said should not be a model for Americans who seek a more rational approach to the current for-profit healthcare system.
In 2011, he also said this: "With regard to the idea whether or not you have a right to health care ... It means you believe in slavery. You are going to enslave not only me but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants, the nurses. … You are basically saying you believe in slavery."
Paul Blest at Splinter News offered some great additional coverage and comment:
While Shouldice is a for-profit clinic, it’s very much a part of the Canadian healthcare system. As the National Post wrote in 2012, the government of the province of Ontario “still pays for thousands of patients a year to get operations there at taxpayers’ expense,” and that it “receives yearly funding from the province, and medicare fees for services offered by its doctors.”
Apart from this, however, the fact remains that Paul—an ophthalmologist by trade who once compared the right to healthcare to slavery—is going to another country where healthcare for everyone is guaranteed and funded by the government via a program called Medicare, in order to get better quality care than he would have here in the United States, which has a Frankenstein-like monstrosity of a healthcare system that still leaves tens of millions uninsured.
Turns out the invisible hand isn’t as good at fixing hernias as a real one.
Watch Paul's infamous performance at a Senate hearing, as well as the response to his comments by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.):
Updated: This piece was updated from its original to add additional context and comment from Splinter News.