Rand Paul Canada surgery

Republican Senator criticized for coming to Toronto for surgery

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, who once famously likened Canada's public healthcare system to slavery, is coming to Ontario later this month for hernia surgery.

The Associated Press reports that the Republican Senator from Kentucky will undergo outpatient surgery during the week of January 21 at the GTA's own Shouldice Hospital, a private healthcare facility in Thornhill that specializes in non-mesh hernia repair.

This, according to a recent filing in Paul's ongoing lawsuit against neighbour Rene Boucher, who attacked him outside of his home in 2017.

Paul's lawyers claim that the lawmaker needs hernia surgery as the result of injuries sustained during the attack, which was allegedly prompted by a pile of loose yard clippings.

It is unclear why the politician is coming to Canada for the procedure, however—and ironic, say his political opponents, given how staunchly opposed to universal healthcare the senator has claimed to be.

Paul, who himself is an ophthalmologist and ran for U.S. president in 2016, said the following of publicly-funded medicine during a debate against fellow U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in 2011:

"With regard to the idea whether or not you have a right to health care you have to realize what that implies. I am a physician. You have a right to come to my house and conscript me. 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."

In response to criticism over the seemingly hypocritical move, Paul's team issued a statement to clarify that he  will be attending a private hospital "separate from any system."

"This is more fake news on a story that has been terribly reported from day one," said Paul's deputy chief of staff, Sergio Gor, in a statement on Monday.

"This is a private, world renowned hospital separate from any system and people come from around the world to pay cash for their services."

"It's literally the opposite of socialized medicine," added Paul's chief strategist Doug Stafford on Twitter, saying that Shouldice is "one of a handful of private hospitals grandfathered to exist outside of [Canada's] normal healthcare laws."

Shouldice does accepts public insurance, according to Politico, but also allows people to pay for its services.

The Lousiville Courier-Journal, which broke the hernia surgery story, further reports that while Shouldice is privately owned, it still receives the majority of its funding from Ontario's government.

Paul's hernia procedure is estimated to cost between USD$5,000 and  $8,000.

Lead photo by

Jamelle Bouie


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