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Sen. Rand Paul to have hernia surgery in Canada

Sen. Rand Paul to have hernia surgery in Canada
Sen. Rand Paul will receive care in a country that offers its citizens a publicly funded, universal healthcare system that runs counter to Paul's approach to American healthcare. (Austin Anthony / Associated Press)

Sen. Rand Paul plans to undergo hernia surgery at a private hospital in Canada because of injuries he suffered when a neighbor tackled him while he was doing yard work at his Kentucky home.

The Republican lawmaker is scheduled to cross the border for outpatient surgery scheduled sometime during the week of Jan. 21 at a hospital in Thornhill, Ontario, his attorneys said in a recent filing in Paul's lawsuit against Rene Boucher, who attacked Paul.

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The surgery is related to the 2017 attack, the court document says. Boucher pleaded guilty to assaulting a member of Congress and was sentenced to 30 days in prison. Federal prosecutors are appealing the sentence, saying 21 months would have been appropriate.

Paul is scheduled for surgery at Shouldice Hospital, which touts itself as a world leader in “non-mesh hernia repair.”

“This 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 an email Monday.

In choosing Shouldice, Paul will receive care in a country that offers its citizens a publicly funded, universal healthcare system that runs counter to Paul's approach to American healthcare policy. Paul, who ran for president in 2016, touts private-market approaches for U.S. healthcare problems.

Paul's chief strategist, Doug Stafford, pointed to Shouldice Hospital's private status in pushing back against media reports about the senator going to Canada for treatment. “It's literally the opposite of socialized medicine,” he tweeted.

The hernia procedure is estimated to cost $5,000 to $8,000, the court document said.

Paul suffered multiple broken ribs in the incident. Boucher has said the attack was triggered by Paul stacking debris near their property line in Bowling Green and that he “lost his temper.”

Paul sued Boucher last year seeking damages for physical pain and mental suffering from the attack. A jury trial is scheduled to begin this month in Bowling Green.

“After presenting our evidence to the court and jury, we will ask the jury to carefully consider all evidence and to make a fair allowance based upon the entirety of the facts and circumstances related to this attack and plaintiff's injuries,” Paul's attorneys said in the filing.

Paul's lawyers also said that a biomechanics expert is prepared to testify that Paul's injuries were similar to those from a 25-mph car crash.

Boucher's attorney, Matt Baker, said Monday that “we're in the process of getting ready for trial.”

Baker said that Boucher has made a $30,000 judgment offer to Paul.

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