Kentucky Senator Rand Paul plans to head to Canada to undergo hernia surgery, according to his attorneys. According to the Courier-Journal, Paul, who is one of the most aggressive critics of socialized medicine in the Senate, is scheduled to have an outpatient operation at Shouldice Hernia Hospital in Ontario, Canada, next week.
Paul was injured in November of 2017, when his neighbor — Rene Boucher — attacked him while he was mowing his lawn. Boucher says that he assaulted the U.S. Senator over a pile of debris stacked near their shared property line. Rand recalled the experience as a “living hell.”
“It was sort of I guess a living hell for the first four or five weeks,” Paul said. “I couldn’t get out of bed without assistance, six broken ribs, damage to my lungs, two bouts of pneumonia. It was really a tough go of it. But each day I feel a little bit better.”
Boucher pleaded guilty to assault, and was sentenced to 30 days in prison and a $10,000 fine, which he is appealing.
Details of Paul’s surgery were revealed as part of the documents related to the ongoing lawsuit. According to those documents, as part of his recovery, Paul requires hernia surgery. He is opting to have the work done in Canada, where universal health care coverage applies to the majority of the population.
Paul has called socialized medicine and universal care “slavery” in the past, per the Courier-Journal, arguing that the United States was founded on the right to pursue happiness, but not “physical comfort.” He has said that universal health care would enable people to come to his house, and “conscript” his services as an ophthalmologist.
Instead, Paul believes that the private market is the only appropriate way to address health care needs.
ICYMI today I did a health care Q&A on Facebook live: https://t.co/F8qARbFZ6f— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 19, 2017
Neither Paul nor his representatives have commented on why the Senator chose to have surgery in Canada, where socialized medicine is the standard. Shouldice Hernia Hospital, which is privately administered, bills itself as “the global leader in non-mesh hernia repair.” The surgery will likely cost somewhere between $4,000 and $8,000.
A spokesperson for Paul, one named Kelsey Cooper, shot back at the Courier-Journal after it broke the news.
“This is more fake news on a story that has been terribly reported from day one — this is a private, world renowned hospital separate from any system and people come from around the world to pay cash for their services,” Cooper said.
Paul says that he intends to recover the costs of the surgery from Boucher.