Some media outlets and activists are suggesting that Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) is guilty of hypocrisy because he will travel to Canada for surgery related to his 2017 assault at the hands of a neighbor. Paul, after all, has warned loudly against adopting the Canadian health care system.
"Rand Paul, enemy of socialized medicine, will go to Canada for surgery," tweeted Talking Points Memo. The tweet includes a link to a Courier-Journal story that reminds readers that "Paul has called universal health care and nationalized options 'slavery.'" Newsweek went a similar route. And the Democratic Coalition tweeted:
Oh, the irony: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, one of the fiercest political critics of socialized medicine, will travel to Canada later this month to get hernia surgery.
— Democratic Coalition (@TheDemCoalition) January 14, 2019
Checkmate, libertarians? Nope.
Those who chuckled at this supposed irony missed a major detail, even though it was noted in the press coverage: Paul's surgery will take place at the Shouldice Hernia Hospital in Thornhill, Ontario. The clinic is private, and run for profit; The Toronto Star's Daniel Dale, who is from Thornhill, notes that it was "grandfathered in to Ontario's socialized health system."
According to Dale, New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton, a left-leaning Canadian politician, attracted criticism in 2006 for visiting the private clinic, even though he was a champion of publicly provided health care. That is indeed hypocritical. Paul's decision to seek out the best care—and pay for it—is not.