Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) will travel to Canada in late January to get hernia surgery, related to the attack he sustained from a neighbor in 2017, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.
Notably, Paul is adamantly against socialized medicine and has called the idea of a national public health care system “slavery.” Canada enjoys publicly funded universal health care, but the hospital Paul will visit is privately administered, his spokesperson said.
Communications director Kelsey Cooper called Shouldice Hernia Hospital “a private, world renowned hospital separate from any system and people come from around the world to pay cash for their services.”
There is some nuance here. Though Shouldice is a private, for-profit hospital, it does almost all of its work under contract with various provincial governments. Thus, the majority of the hospital’s income comes from patients who pay their bills through their government-funded health plans, according to the Globe and Mail.
Canadian citizens pay into the country’s single-payer health-care system through federal and provincial taxes. Each province or territory has a health-care plan under which they can get free care. (What the country has is similar to the Medicare-for-All concept endorsed by some Democrats.)
Private, for-profit hospitals were outlawed under Ontario’s 1973 Private Hospitals Act, but already-existing facilities, including Shouldice, were exempted.
This story was updating following comments from Sen. Paul’s spokesperson to clarify that the hospital in question is privately owned.