Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) isn’t a fan of universal healthcare in the U.S., but apparently trusts the system in Canada enough to operate on him.

That’s according to a recent article from the Louisville Courier-Journal, which reported Monday that Sen. Paul is going to Ontario, Canada, to get surgery relating to a 2017 incident in which his neighbor in Kentucky tackled him from behind while he was doing yard work.

Paul will specifically be going to Canada for hernia surgery, booking an appointment at Shouldice Hernia Hospital, which markets itself as “the global leader in non-mesh hernia repair.” The Courier-Journal reported that Sen. Paul can expect to pay between $5,000 and $8,000 for the surgery. That’s significantly cheaper than what Paul would pay in the U.S., in which an inpatient hernia procedure costs more than $11,000 on average.

While Sen. Paul certainly can’t be faulted for trying to save money, choosing to fly to Canada for a healthcare procedure flies in the face of his political philosophy. As early as 2011, Sen. Paul, who is an ophthalmologist, described a universal healthcare system as “slavery.”

“You have to realize what [demanding a right to healthcare] implies. It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery,” Paul said in a committee hearing. “It means you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses.”

While the hospital Paul is going to is privately owned, it’s still publicly funded as part of Canada’s healthcare system, in which everyone is guaranteed healthcare as a right, funded by taxpayer dollars. Even though Canada doesn’t allow for private hospitals, Shouldice is one of the few private institutions that was grandfathered into the nation’s current universal healthcare system.


Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.


  1. Don’t members of the government get medical coverage as a benefit of their service? Why would Paul be spending $11,000 here at home? I can see going to a better medical facility since our medical care is wanting but his paying for it seems specious.

    1. Actually they do not, they have to purchase insurance under the affordable care act, obamacare, and when they retire they get the same government insurance everyone else does and it isn’t free.

  2. Um, isn’t it the libertarians and other reactionaries who claim universal healthcare doesn’t work because, there are Canadians coming to the U.S. for surgery?

    And why isn’t he buying American-made medical care? Given the healthcare coverage Congressmen have, he’s not saving money, he’s spending more than he’d have to in the U.S.

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