About That "Sarah Palin Going To Canada For Health Care" Story…


Sarah Palin haters and health-care refrom advocates have been having a field day with this quote made by Sarah Palin at a speech in Canada:

My first five years of life we spent in Skagway, Alaska, right there by Whitehorse. Believe it or not—this was in the '60s—we used to hustle on over the border for health care that we would receive in Whitehorse. I remember my brother, he burned his ankle in some little kid accident thing and my parents had to put him on a train and rush him over to Whitehorse and I think, isn't that kind of ironic now. Zooming over the border, getting health care from Canada," Palin said a speech Saturday night, according to the Calgary Herald.

More here.

Here's Sam Stein at the HuffPo getting a dig in:

The irony, one guesses, is that Palin now views Canada's health care system as revolting: with its government-run administration and 'death-panel'-like rationing. Clearly, however, she and her family once found it more alluring than, at the very least, the coverage available in rural Alaska. Up to the age of six, Palin lived in a remote town near the closest Canadian city, Whitehorse.

And here's Jezebel:

Sarah Palin Loves Socialized Health Care (When She's Paying For It)

Hat tip: Dave Weigel of The Washington Independent.

Well, get out the double-irony alert-o-meter. Canada was not born with the single-payer system it currently has. In fact, the full-blown socialization of its medical sector was a long time coming and was not in anything like its current state in the 1960s. In the early '60s, Canada had passed laws pushing universal access to hospitals; in 1966, the Medical Care Act allowed each province to create universal coverage systems, which took years to fully implement. It was only in 1984 that the current system really came online in the Canada Health Act, which banned patient fees and billing by doctors in excess of what the government paid. Read about it here

I'm no fan of Palin, but it tells us precisely nothing about Sarah Palin or Canadian health care that her family might have used the system there in the 1960s.

But as long as we're doing irony, let's not forget about Newfoundland premier, Danny Williams, who in February elected to come to the U.S. for heart surgery. That seems to be more directly on point with regards to health care reform. Though even that really tells us nothing. I don't know, for instance, if Canadian tax dollars paid for the trip and the surgery, which would be in keeping with Great White North's system (even if it suggests that even the most-connected folks in Canada vote with their aortas for care generated elsewhere).

More irony (though that's not the word I would use, as this statement makes me want to puke): The U.S. government spends about $1,000 more per person on health care than does Canada's government (approximately $2,700 per versus $1,900). Which is simply amazing: Our feds are managing to deliver the worst of both worlds. USA Number 1!

Last year, Reason.tv checked in the Canadian health care system. Here's some of what we found:

More health care vids here.

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  1. Whitehorse has a population of over 20,000


    Meanwhile Skagway has a population of 862.


    Whitehorse is the nearest town of any size to Skagway.


    Juno is about the same distance as the crow flies, but there is no road to Juno.

    Given that it makes sense that Palin’s parents would have driven to Whitehorse to see a doctor.

    It is called Google liberals. Learn how to use it, you fucking retards.

    1. Hah, you beat me to it.

      There is a lot of cross border traffic in Alaska because of it’s immense size rough geography. Quite often it’s easier for people in Eastern Alaska to travel into Canada than it is to travel to other parts of Canada.

      Of course, since they no longer teach real geography anymore in the liberal arts, I imagine most leftists don’t know how to read a map.

      1. The fact that you could get better medical care in a town of 20,000 in Canada than you can from a really remote town of 800 in the USA says absolutely nothing about either country’s health care systems.

        1. qft, john.

          logistics of getting to health care as well as what the system looked like should have been higher up on the list (particularly access, I’d say, considering how remote that part of the world is)

          Shannon – knowledge of geography and cultures is far outside the wheelhouse of the social conservative, too. You’re doing what the palin bashers are doing.

          Willful misreading is the name of the political discourse these days. And both sides are ?ber guilty of it.

          1. Why are you here and not at Urkobold, commenting on the Gozer the Gozerian interview? Or some other posting? Really, you are overpaid.

          2. So you’re saying that the U.S. Government should have spent money to make sure people in bumfuck Alaska in the 60’s had better access?

            They live in bumfuck Alaska because they don’t want the government around. It’s the same reason I live in bumfuck PA.

            1. have you been drinking there, wacky?

              nothing in what i wrote comes anywhere near what you’re misstating.

              the only way that’s acceptable is if you’ve been drinking, then pass the bottle! skol!

    2. You beat me to it too.

      It’s quite likely that people from Skagway still go to Whitehorse for medical care. And they pay for it. Foreign patients are one of the few sources Canadian doctors and hospitals can hit up for direct payment at fees they can set themselves.

      1. This is one of those threads where I am glad we no longer have Joe Boyle to kick around. He would be on here in full retard mode defending the indefensible arguing that this shows that Palin is a hypocrite and Canadian health care really is better.

    3. Very well played, John. You saved me having to look it up and write it down.

      Shannon – knowledge of geography and cultures is far outside the wheelhouse of the social conservative, too. You’re doing what the palin bashers are doing.

      I disagree. The Palin-bashers started with the unsupportable assertions; slapping them down for it is not a fallacy of any kind.

      1. Many of the Palin-bashers still don’t understand how the US and Russia can share a border when the US and the UK don’t.

        1. About ten years ago on a local news show, there was an outraged young Latino who said it was discrimination that California was tightening its border with Mexico when California wasn’t doing the same thing with the border with Canada.

        2. Russian and the US DON’T share a land border. There is the USSR?USA Maritime Boundary Agreement…which is technically still in dispute because neither the USSR nor Russia has ratified it. (US has)

          The Bering Strait is now underwater.

          But hey…I’m a Palin-basher (only because everyone keeps telling me how great she is) so I’m probably wrong.

  2. I followed the Jezebel link. No correction yet. And in a couple dozen comments, none hints at the fact that Canadian health care in the 60’s wasn’t socialized.

    Even I knew that socialized health care didn’t come of age in Canada until the 70’s. Are the supporters of socialized health care really so ignorant?

    1. yes they are. They are willfully ignorant.

    2. You really should have more sense than to expect anything resembling intelligence or humillity over at Jez.

      It’s 20-something, know-nothing Wesleyan grads with synchronized ovulations all the way down.

    3. The point is not to know the truth. The point is to laugh at the stupid people.

  3. Very first thought I had was that Canada probably didn’t have socialized medicine then, at least not to the extent it does today.

    Something’s got to be wrong with your mind not to wonder about that, even if you love socialism.

  4. The Witch: I’m not a witch I’m not a witch!
    Sir Bedevere: But you are dressed as one
    The Witch: *They* dressed me up like this!
    Crowd: We didn’t! We didn’t…
    The Witch: And this isn’t my nose. It’s a false one.
    Sir Bedevere: [lifts up her false nose] Well?
    Peasant 1: Well, we did do the nose.
    Sir Bedevere: The nose?
    Peasant 1: And the hat, but she is a witch!
    Crowd: Yeah! Burn her! Burn her!
    Sir Bedevere: Did you dress her up like this?
    Peasant 1: No!
    Peasant 3, Peasant 2: No!
    Peasant 3: No!
    Peasant 1: No!
    Peasant 3, Peasant 2: No!
    Peasant 1: Yes!
    Peasant 2: Yes!
    Peasant 1: Yeah a bit.
    Peasant 3: A bit!
    Peasant 1, Peasant 2: A bit!
    Peasant 2: a bit
    Peasant 1: But she has got a wart!

    1. Let me be clear; the time for Obama talk is over

    2. But she has got a wart!

      Yes! And she has places on her body where she can’t feel pain, too! Go ahead – try pinching her, you’ll find them eventually.

      1. Pinch her all over, gently, slowly, with both hands. 😉

        1. A Connie Booth fan, I take it?

          1. Connie Booth, the actress? Nope, never heard of her before now. I was referring to certain practices used by the Inquisition (as well as the German Protestants) for determining whether someone was a witch back during midieval Europe. It was said that witches had places on their bodies where they could not feel pain. Of course, everyone has such places – the fold of skin over the elbows being one – but that fact was not generally known. In any event it sometimes served as a pretext for feeling up a comely young lass accused of witchcraft. It was also said that witches had special markings on their bodies; naturally the inquisitor would have to search for those as well.

            1. Onward Christian soldiers!

  5. More irony (though that’s not the word I would use, as this state makes me want to puke): The U.S. government spends about $1,000 more per person on health care than does Canada’s government (approximately $2,700 per versus $1,900). Which is simply amazing: The feds are managing to deliver the worst of both worlds.

    I think the fed is delivering the worst of more than just two worlds.

  6. OK can we now agree Sarah Palin is way smarter than a bunch of “reality based” liberals? (Including LOL! David Weigel )

    1. I have owned beagles that are smarter than Weigel.

    2. No. I still have no idea how smart or stupid either Palin or the bunch of liberals you are talking about are. The Liberals are probably just being willfully ignorant. Palin seems a bit dull, but maybe she is just really bad at not saying dumb things in public.

      1. She said something really smart here.

      2. She did say something smart and it went right over the liberals’ heads.

        1. Enlighten me. What did she say that was smart?

          She is talking about going over to Canada for health care when she was young. It wasn’t even her choice it was her parents.

    3. At best, between this and the Rahm/Rush retard thing, Palin and Palin haters are at a draw for stupid media shit.

      1. Palin was way ahead at “Death Panels”.
        Like her or not that woman is a political genius.

        1. You’re a moron.

  7. Little known fact.

    Canada had considerably less government involvement in the economy than the US before the 1960s, including the welfare state.

    The short-lived Conservative Government of RB Bennett proposed some “New Deal” style interventions during the 30s depression but they were either not passed, ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court or reversed by the new Liberal government.

    The policies of Mackenzie King are largely credited with making the depression less severe in Canada than it was in the US.

    It took Lester Pearson to move the Liberal party leftwards and Pierre Trudeau to make it out and out socialist.

    Before them the Liberal party was Liberal in the 19th century sense. The Conservative Party was the part of ties to the Monarchy and the British Empire. It was never particularly friendly to business and capitalism.

    Medicare and the Canada Pension Plan (Canada’s version of Social Security) are both products of the 60s.

    1. Also isn’t there a lot of Provencal independence in Canada even today? I don’t think the health care systems out west are quite as socialist as they are in Toronto or Quebec.

      1. The Canadians are all for Proven?al independence. Free southeastern France!

        My understanding is that the provinces are more independent in many respects in the Canadian federal system than the states are in the U.S.

        1. This answer oversimplifies the issue.

          In theory the Canadian Constitution provides for much less in the way of “Provincial Rights” than the US Constitution provides for “States Rights”.

          In practice the opposite is the case.

          1. That’s “Proven?al rights”, Isaac. The right to be treated like French whores.

  8. Uh-Oh! Sarah Palin said something in public! Lefties have to freak out about it for a week!

    1. Palin Derangement Syndrome. It’s the flip side of Republicans creaming their shorts when she says something that makes the news.

    2. Of course…she makes me laugh…most failed politicians do.

  9. ‘The U.S. government spends about $1,000 more per person on health care than does Canada’s government (approximately $2,700 per versus $1,900).’

    I know exactly how the progressives I know would respond to this:

    Canada spends its health-care dollars more efficiently because the U.S. government is held captive to the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance companies. Only ‘single-payer’ can free us from such bondage, and Obama’s health-care plan is a step in that direction, although it doesn’t go far enough because Obama is selling out to the Right.

    1. The virtue of single payer is that all evidence suggests that it is the most efficient option.

      But I’m really pissed off at liberal purists. They, like the teabaggers, want to kill the bill, but because it’s not single payer.

      Fucking Kucinich worshiping morons. They have my ire even more than the morons on the right who are simply the product of a poor education. Progressives should know better. You’re not voting for a principle or a person, you’re voting for a party. Incremental reform–anything that improves upon the status quo–is better than dooming healthcare reform for the next 10 years.

      Sorry. Not that you care.

      1. Stupid is as stupid does Tony.

      2. Too funny. People here have consistently pointed out your erroneous analysis and faulty conclusions in health care, AGW, and on, and on. Yet anyone who disagrees with you is a “moron on the right” with a “poor education.” Oh to be an omniscient progressive.

        1. My only position on “AGW” is that the vast majority of climate scientists think it’s happening.

          If that’s self-evidently retarded then slap my bottom and call me Trig.

          1. If that’s self-evidently retarded then slap my bottom and call me Trig.

            You just wish someone would call you Trigger. Trust me – it ain’t gonna happen.

          2. So Tony, do you think “a vast majority” of economists or doctors think single-payer is “the most efficient option”? Since you’re all into expert consensus.

      3. They have my ire even more than the morons on the right who are simply the product of a poor education

        They’re educated well enough to know when someone is trying to enslave them to the misfortunes of others.

      4. Progressives should know better. You’re not voting for a principle or a person, you’re voting for a party.

        The party of more torture, more land wars in Asia, more remote-controlled bombings, more bailouts, more corporate welfare for insurance, etc. I beseech you, brother, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you have bamboozled.

        1. Actually, less torture, less wars, less corporate welfare.

          Not great, but at least it’s not the party of fucking lunatics.

          1. I’m sorry Tony, but I have a problem respecting assertions like:

            “The virtue of single payer is that all evidence suggests that it is the most efficient option.”

            …when all evidence suggests that single payer would take a 9.5 trillion dollar deficit hole and only make it astronomically larger.

            Please go sell your socialism to other zeks in the GULAG, okay? History will record Obama as yet another in a long line of leftist Gods That Failed.

          2. The stimulus package was 800 billion dollars of corporate welfare! OMG! OH, yeah and state welfare for failed local governments. But then again that probably went to more corporate welfare.

      5. I care and I agree. I can’t believe people are cutting off their noses to spite their face.

      6. A couple of posts that make me consider whether Tony and Mad Max might just be very subtle parodies.

        “Only single-payer can free us from such bondage”, “You’re not voting for a principle or a person, you’re voting for a party.”

        These are not statements to be taken seriously.

    2. Apparently you have been talking to my relatives.

  10. John

    The Canada Health Act mandates a certain amount of uniformity in the Provincial plans but the plans are as you note autonomous. The major restrictions placed by the act are that all plans must be universal and that there may be no copays or other fees charged to patients for covered services.

    So as to Provincial Rights, yes, they exist but I see absolutely no way that an attempt by the US federal government to impose an unfunded mandate on the states here would pas either a legal or an outrage test.

    The Canadian mandate on the Provinces is that the provinces must raise the additional revenues to run their plans over and above the grants they get from the Feds. I’m assuming that’s the $1,900 that Nick refer’s to as Canada’s government spending. If I’m not mistaken the federal grants cover just a little over half of the provinces’ costs in running their plans. The remainder the provinces have to raise with taxes and premiums.

    It’s a common mistake to look at Canada as a low spending coutry when viewing federal expenditures only. Canadian provincial tax levels tend to be much higher than US states.

    And I think you’ll find all the plans pretty much equally socialistic, without respect to region. Some are run better than others and Alberta’s is supposedly better funded because of the oil revenues.

    The grandaddy of medicare in Canada is Saskatchewan’s plan passed in 1962. Saskatchewan had the first avowedly socialist regional government in North America. In fact it’s really the onlyavowedly socialist government since the CCF party actually renounced its founding document, The Regina Manifesto, which called for thorough-going socialism, including nationalization of industry and banking, in th mid 50s in favor of a more conventional Social Democratic platform.

    1. Isaac, your history ignores the Saskatchewan Hospitalization Act of 1946 that guaranteed free hospital care. Previous to the act, municipal doctors were paid for by towns. Public healthcare has a long history in Canada. Free hospitals existed when Quebec was still called New France.

      1. The US had the same kind of cheap or free healthcare options back in the day. Internationally, healthcare has only become really expensive since the 80’s.

      2. No, it doesn’t.

        Note that I refer to Saskatchewan Hospitalization Act of 1946, which came into effect in 1947, the year I was born, below at 3.8.10 @ 5:39PM.

        My larger point was to counter the claims by Americans that Canada is a more socialistic country. It might be now, but it was not always so, and the fact that it is is a recent development.

        Also, until the 1960s, there existed in the USA institutions known as County Hospitals where people got free (or nearly free adjusted to income) care on demand. It was America that was the socialist paradise pre-1960s not Canada.

  11. Here’s the timeline of government run medicine in Canada.


    Yukon creates hospital insurance plan with federal cost sharing, July 1.

    Not sure if that applies to Americans crossing the border or the rules involved. However, it’s pretty explicit that there was some level of socialized medicine in the Yukon at the time. Though it most assuredly wasn’t as full blown as it is today.

    1. Non-residents have to pay for any medical care they receive in Canada out of pocket.

      If a resident of one province goes to another province for treatment it has to be paid for by the plan of the patients home province etc.

    2. Mo

      Note that the Yukon plan you refer to is for hospital insurance. If you check your link you’ll find that several provinces (I know, Yukon’s a territory) had hospital plans before that, Saskatchewan in 1947. It was Federal gernment involvement that spread it.

      Saskatchewan was the first province to have a plan to cover physician’s services and they did it on their own, just as the had done with their hospitla plan. That’s why Kieffer Sutherland’s grandpa is The Greatest Canadian in History.

      1. Yup. It looks like they didn’t have federal cost shared medical plans until 72. I’m guessing that’s more like the system now, by paying physicians. However, I’d take it with a grain of salt as IANAC

        1. IANAC

          By the grace of God.

      2. Mo, my point is that governments got involved in hospital insurance before they got involved in insurance for physicians fees.

        Several provinces established their own hospital plans before the feds got involved and as you can see from the timeline the feds got involved in incremental steps.

        1. Question. Is the hospital insurance similarish to the implied ER coverage that Americans get, without the chance of a crushing bill at the end?

          1. Exactly right. No one in Canada will ever have a medical related bankruptcy

    3. Get this though.
      The plan was only sucessful after the government of Canada broke a Doctor’s strike by bussing in doctors from the UK and other provuinces.


      A historical antecedent for the low salaries and chronic physician shortages in Canada.

  12. Skagway folks drive over the hill to Whitehorse for a lot of things. They’ll continue to do so until (1) crossing the border is a bigger hassle than a Whitehorse McDonald’s Big Mac and fries is worth or (2) they get a decent road to the nearest U.S. city.

  13. Jezebel is aggressively editing out any kind of suggestion of a correction in the comments. I posted about 5 different variations of the “hey, she was 6, and it was the 60’s, etc.” including all the important points listed above. I logged in, even created an account (!?!) to post there. They have yet to let one pass moderation.

    1. Lying, two-faced partisan skags, they are.

  14. Canadian emergency rooms were socialized in the 60s, and the only type of cross border visits Palin has ever alluded to (her brother’s burned foot, etc) would have been emergency room visits.

    So yeah, her parents didn’t want to pay profit motive driven frontier docs. I wouldn’t either, but Palin should be condemning them to an eternity in the fires of hell, given her pedigree.

    1. Oh, right, that’s the first thing on Chuck Heath’s mind: “how do I save a Canadian Loonie” not “heal my son’s foot”.

      Because we know that the entire Heath family are hypocrites, especially that hypocrite six-year old daughter in the back seat.

      Right? Oh, wait, Sarah’s too busy shooting wolves out of the car window to bother tending to her wounded brother!

      Bitch. She should go to Hell!

      Or at least Purgatory. After all, she started out Roman Catholic.

    2. See above where I wrote:

      Non-residents have to pay for any medical care they receive in Canada out of pocket.

      1. Exceptions exists for this rule. In the event of a rape, women (regardless of her country of origin) will have her medical care paid by the government in Quebec

  15. I’m just trying to figure out whether her brother burned his foot twice, or if they went to both Whitehorse by train and Juneau by ferry for the same incident. I don’t hold Sarah Palin accountable for what happened when she was 5-years-old, but I do hold her accountable for what she says now, and she is telling two different stories.

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