Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is heading to a clinic in Ontario, Canada, next week for an outpatient hernia operation, his lawyers revealed in a court filing. But the libertarian-leaning Republican isn't suddenly embracing Canadian socialized medicine. The Shouldice Hernia Hospital "is a private, world-renowned hospital separate from any system and people come from around the world to pay cash for their services," Paul spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper said in a statement. The senator's chief strategist, Doug Stafford, also pushed back at the idea on Twitter, saying the expedition north is "literally the opposite of socialized medicine."
"While the U.S. and Canada are often portrayed as having opposing health systems — one private, one public, the reality is more nuanced," Politico notes. "Canada also offers some for-profit services, while the U.S. has federal health insurance programs."
The upcoming operation was revealed in a civil lawsuit Paul has filed against his neighbor Rene Boucher, who tackled him last year, breaking several of Paul's ribs, in what Boucher described as a dispute over yard clippings. Boucher pleaded guilty to assaulting a member of Congress and was fined $10,000 and given 30 days in prison, but Paul is also suing him for "physical pain and mental suffering." A jury trial for that civil suit is scheduled to begin later this month in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the jury is likely to award Paul more than the $5,000 to $8,000 he's expected to pay for his hernia procedure in Canada.