‘Fact-challenged’ media pounces on Rand Paul for going to Canada for surgery. But, there’s one little problem…

EDITOR’S NOTE: This original post mistakenly named Paul Ryan in the headline, instead of Rand Paul.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will be having surgery in Canada related to an attack from the lawmaker’s neighbor in November 2017.

Paul is scheduled to have outpatient surgery at the privately administered Shouldice Hernia Hospital in Thornhill, Ontario, next week, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.

Known for his fierce opposition to government-run health care — see Obamacare — the senator was taken to task by the left for going to a country featuring socialized healthcare.

“[B]rave of rand paul to offer himself up as a guinea pig to showcase the savagery of socialized medicine,” tweeted Mashable’s Matt Binder.

John Aravosis, an editor for AMERICAblog, got in on the act as well.

“Rand Paul, an outspoken critic of universal healthcare, is traveling to Canada for hernia surgery, where they have universal healthcare, because America’s health care system wasn’t good enough for a sitting US Senator,” Aravosis tweeted, linking to a Washington Post story on Paul’s surgery.

Paul spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper did respond to the ridicule to note that the clinic is a private hospital.

“This is a private, world-renowned hospital separate from any system and people come from around the world to pay cash for their services,” Cooper told The Hill.

Paul’s chief strategist, Doug Stafford, took to Twitter to address the “fake news.”

“Attention fact-challenged media: “More fake news on a story that has been reported terribly from day one – this is a PRIVATE, world renowned hospital and people come from around the world to PAY CASH for their services.” It’s literally the opposite of socialized medicine,” he tweeted.

He went on to share addition information relevant to the social medicine claim:

“It is one of a handful of private hospitals grandfathered to exist outside of their normal healthcare laws. Try fact checking, it’s not hard,” Stafford added.

Few Americans are schooled in the intricacies of the Canadian health care system, but social media users responded to claim Canucks do frequent the clinic as part of what’s made available to them.

The Courier Journal said Shouldice is privately owned, but “receives a majority of its funding from the Ontario government and accepts the Ontario’s Hospital Insurance Plan.”

The hospital accepts cash, check or credit card for patients like Paul who do not have a Canadian health insurance plan.

Toronto Star correspondent Daniel Dale weighed in on the confusion to say there’s not much “there” there when it comes to the criticism of Paul.

“This isn’t really a good ‘gotcha. This hernia clinic, in my hometown of Thornhill, is one of a very small number of private, for-profit clinics that were grandfathered into Ontario’s socialized health system.”

He responded to a reply to say “the gotcha is ‘he’s an enemy of socialized medicine but look he’s going to the land of socialized medicine.’ Shouldice is not socialized medicine — it’s a little bastion of capitalist medicine Canadian politicians allow to keep existing.”

Tom Tillison

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